PAUL A. MAILHOT
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. PreTEX automatically supplies some of the markup required by TEX, simplifies other commands, and provides user-friendly error diagnosis. PreTEX allows the independent processing of a project in conveniently small (chapter length) files at every stage, while integrating cross references, index and contents references, and bibliographic citations across the entire book. All of these we call Dynamic References.
This talk will concentrate on using PreTEX for on-line documents, that is, documents published on CD-ROM or the Web, for example. The popularity of on-line publication has spawned a wide variety of on-line document readers and Web browser plug-ins. These include FrameReader, Mathematica Reader, Quark Reader, and Adobe Acrobat Reader, to name only a few.
Adobe Acrobat supports cross-referencing elements in a manner somewhat similar to the method PreTEX uses for dynamic references. The PreTEX system, in fact, can automatically insert PDF (Portable Document Format) bookmarks, tags, and links for all the dynamic references in the original document. In this way, all these references (index, contents, cross references, bibliographic citations, etc.) automatically become links for navigating through the on-line document.
In addition, further PreTEX commands (ignored for the printed version) will generate page thumbnails, document contents, or icons that will launch application files directly from the PDF document. Suppose, for example, that part of a document is discussing some computer process or application. PreTEX can then place an icon in the margin (of the PDF version only, not the printed version) that will immediately launch that application or start a demonstration program. On termination, the application or demonstration will return to the same place in the document.
Dynamic referencing in PreTEX is considerably more flexible and powerful than in other systems, such as LATEX2e. Index entries can be generated in several forms; bibliographic citations can be either local to one file or global to the entire project; cross-reference labels are similar to those of LATEX, but they can be global over all files, and the replacement text may include words, phrases, macros, and other elements, as well as counters such as section or page numbers. If desired, PreTEX can automatically perform simple edits on the replacement text. If, for example, two references used together expand to ``Figure 7 and Figure 10'' PreTEX can be instructed to parse this as ``Figures 7 and 10''.