[pstricks] [Pgf-users] what can PSTricks do that PGF/TikZ can't? (and vice versa)

Till Tantau tantau at tcs.uni-luebeck.de
Thu Jul 17 11:59:42 CEST 2008


actually, that passage in the manual is rather old, TikZ can now do  
most of the things that pstricks can. (Sometimes I would not even have  
thought that we/I would be able to implement these things...).

There is one thing where I think that pstricks will stay to be more  
powerful than tikz: Graphics in which text is used as a path or the  
base of a path. For instance, there are packages for creating "3D"  
letters, which are generated by using a normal text, turning it into a  
path, then doing some postscript magic to add "depth and lights". In  
pdf one simply cannot access text paths (partly for technical reasons,  
partly for copyright reasons), so I think it is more or less  
impossible to create these 3D letters as it is done in pstricks.

Currently, I also think that the commands for connecting nodes are  
still more powerful in pstricks (although the syntax is not very  
good). But we are working on this...

In general, pstricks has the great advantage that a lot of  
computational stuff can be left to the postscript interpreter, where  
pgf has to do the necessary computations inside TeX. For instance, if  
you use pstricks to plot a function, depending on the function,  
pstricks can store just the code of the function in the postscript  
file, which is very fast and simple. pgf, on the other hand, will have  
to evaluate all points of the function while TeX goes over the tex- 
file. This takes a lot of time and results in longer files.

The main strengths of pgf are portability, better syntax (with TikZ),  
transparency, more powerful shapes/nodes. I also think that  
decorations are a pretty neat thing, which pstricks lacks.

According to user feedback, it seems to be an advantage that pstricks  
has a short manual. A good book on TikZ would certainly help, here.


Am 17.07.2008 um 10:12 schrieb Dan Drake:

> Hello,
> I'm giving a presentation in August about graphics tools for LaTeX.
> Naturally I need to mention PSTricks and TikZ. In several places [1],
> the TikZ manual mentions that since PSTricks is based on Postscript,  
> it
> will always have capabilities that TikZ won't.
> I'm interested in some examples of things that are easy in PSTricks  
> that
> are impossible or very difficult in PGF/TikZ -- and vice versa. I'm  
> not
> trying to decide which system is "better", I just want to know some of
> the differences between them, as well as the limitations and strengths
> of each.
> Suggestions? Thanks!
> Dan
> [1]: Particularly section 1.2 (page 17 of the current manual).
> -- 
> ---  Dan Drake <drake at mathsci.kaist.ac.kr>
> -----  KAIST Department of Mathematical Sciences
> -------  http://math.kaist.ac.kr/~drake
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Prof. Dr. Till Tantau <tantau at tcs.uni-luebeck.de>

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