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Managing Large Projects with PreTEX,
a Preprocessor for TEX

PreTEX Inc., Halifax, Canada

Abstract:  PreTEX is a preprocessor for TEX that supplies an author with many tools to simplify the writing and management of larger (book-length) projects.

This talk will concentrate on PreTEX's use of secondary input files and conditional typesetting in managing large projects. The user may insert location tags within a file which can then be used by PreTEX to include parts of one file within another, in any order determined by the user. Parts of a file may also be selectively typeset according to the status of various conditions. Three sample applications will demonstrate the power of these tools:

Consider a textbook in which answers to problems are printed separately. With PreTEX, solutions can be placed immediately adjacent to the problems, but will be printed only under the control of PreTEX commands. Hence the same input can, as desired, produce solutions with the problems, at the back of the book, or in a separate document.

Consider a compendium in which chapters are written by authors not in touch with one other, and each chapter is processed independently through PreTEX. Each chapter may have its own cross references, index, or contents. The editor can merge all these resources for the entire volume, supplying a bibliographic database for use by all authors, accessed by BIBTEX automatically from PreTEX.

Consider a large software system with computer code distributed over many files, and with documentation in the same files with the code. There may be several kinds of documentation: informal introductions, user reference material, precise specifications, programmer's comments, revision reports, and chronology. By treating each program file as a secondary file, PreTEX can combine any desired extracts of the documentation or the program code in any desired order. Identical source files can be used to construct, for example, informal user guides, user reference manuals, or complete program listings. PreTEX provides special facilities for typesetting computer programs, understanding enough of the program syntax to adjust spacing and choose special symbols.

For program files, PreTEX provides a further utility called StripTEX, which removes the documentation and any TEX markup in the program code, yielding output that can be submitted directly to a compiler. In this way, PreTEX provides all the functions of Knuth's Web system (Weave and Tangle), but with additional capability, flexibility, and language independence.

next up previous contents
Next: Database Publishing with JAVA Up: Wednesday August 18, 1999 Previous: Making a Book from
Page last modified on 1999-08-04