[XeTeX] documentation on programming language (in macros)?

Roger Hart rhart at mail.utexas.edu
Sat Feb 26 06:31:37 CET 2005

On Feb 25, 2005, at 2:06 AM, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> Le 25 févr. 05, à 08:15, Roger Hart a écrit :
>> So I was wondering if it would be difficult to get ps4pdf to work 
>> under xelatex? I've become very dependent on ps4pdf.  I did look at 
>> the file, but I'm afraid I'm not expert enough to really understand 
>> what it is doing, or how to alter it to produce the same result with 
>> xelatex. I would be indeed very grateful for any suggestions.
> I've looked at this and managed to get ps4pdf.sty bypass its hardwired 
> \RequirePackage[pdftex]{graphicx},


> I won't be able to spend more time on this, but in any case that 
> doesn't look good.

I certainly very much appreciate all the extremely generous and expert 
help that I've received with my many very ignorant and simple novice 
questions about latex etc.  So please let me apologize for asking one 
more, and I do hope I may forgiven for stating this, since I really 
don't know anything about programming in TeX and LaTeX at this point, 
but it seems to me that making ps4pdf work with xelatex should be 
pretty trivial exercise:

1)  add a section of code that tests to see if the environment is 
xelatex, and if it is, use \XeTeXpdffile, instead of the corresponding 
pdflatex command, to insert the contents of myfilename-pics, one page 
at a time;

2) if the environment is not xelatex, then process according to ps4pdf, 
either creating a -pics file under latex + dvips +ps2pdf, and even 
allowing the usual processing under pdflatex.

That is, something like,

case of xelatex {
%set definitions
%redefine ps4pdf for xelatex
      \XeTeXpdffile "scratch-xy-pics.pdf" page pdfpage
case of latex + dvips +ps2pdf {
      process what is already in ps4pdf
case of pdftex{
      process what is already in ps4pdf

Or even,

if xelatex {
insert pages as above

Obviously, as you can see from the above, I know nothing about the 
syntax or commands of macros.  But I'm growing frustrated enough with 
macros and other things that don't work with CJK that it seems about 
time I learn.  So my question is, where is all of this language 
documented? I tried imitating some .sty files just to find a test for 
xetex, but I was unable to get any of the conditional loops to do what 
I want. I have all of the LaTeX books, and none of them document 
commands like \if ... \fi, \group ... \endgroup, etc. that are used in 
macro commands.I didn't see any documentation on the web.

Is this TeX, documented in Knuth's TeXbook? If so, I'll purchase it 
right away. It seems like I would learn a lot by completing this 
exercise, even if it is indeed as trivial as I assume.

Please let me know what the best and most comprehensive source is so I 
can begin to write code when necessary.

Many thanks,



Roger Hart
Assistant Professor, Departments of History and Asian Studies
University of Texas at Austin

office: Room 405, Garrison Hall
office phone: 512-475-7258
department fax: 512-475-7222
email: rhart at mail.utexas.edu


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