[texhax] [pdftex] DVI to HTML mechanism demo

Graham Toal gtoal at gtoal.com
Sun Oct 28 05:18:58 CET 2007

On 10/27/07, Karl Berry <karl at freefriends.org> wrote:
> Indeed, I'm sure Eitan (Gurari, the author of tex4ht) did not make his
> web pages in TeX, and sees no reason to do so.  That was never his main
> goal with tex4ht.  But I see no reason it can't be used to do it.
> For an example, http://tug.org/texlive/doc/texlive-en/live.html is the
> TeX Live document, written as a LaTeX document and processed with
> tex4ht.

Unless there's more to the system than that example page shows, it's
definitely not what I'm looking for.  It looks like it just outputs
fairly simple running HTML (not page-based) and it appears to allows
the browser to break the lines.

What I want is this:imagine you're using pdfTeX, and your browser has
the pdf viewer plugin installed so that pdf pages are displayed
embedded in the web browser rather than in an external helper app like
Acrobat Reader.  Then imagine this embedded pdf file as showing just
the document without any of the messy framing and unnecessary clutter
that the pdf plugins have.

Now, instead of a pdf plugin, imagine it was implemented by a DVI
plugin.  Great, except that as far as I'm aware, no-one in the last 10
years has written one, and even if they have, unless it came
pre-installed with most browsers, it wouldn't encourage people to
write arbitrary web sites using TeX because people would have to
install a plugin when they visited the site.  Goodbye 99% of your

So... now imagine the look of this hypothetical DVI plugin, but
implemented using standard HTML primitives.  I.e. a TeX previewer
implemented in HTML.

That's what I'm suggesting.  Allowing us to use TeX to make web pages
that look really nice. (Have you ever tried doing decent multi-column
stuff in HTML for example???)

The first iteration would have you generate pages statically from TeX,
very much like embedding PDF files in a web page.  But the potential
is for the next iteration to display .tex files live on the fly, with
the TeX process being fed the X and Y size of the page from the
browser.  This would let you format pages to the screen size, which
again, for multi-column work, would be pretty desirable I'ld have

So if we have a version of TeX which uses the portable set of HTML
fonts, I think that what I'm suggesting is quite doable.  It may be
too late for something that I wished we'd had 10 years ago when the
web first started, but I'ld still like to see it anyway.  I'ld
certainly use it :-)


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