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TeX and XML-related news

Michel Goossens , IT/ASD

TeXlive 4

At the end of August the latest release of TeX of the TeXlive distribution was installed on all supported CERN Unix platforms. It includes version 7.3 of Web2C and is up-to-date with CTAN (Comprehensive TeX Archive Network) until the end of April 1999.

CTAN can be accessed via ftp (, and and many mirrors worldwide). An index of all available files is most conveniently obtained via a Web interface, available via the URL

At CERN we have added quite some material to the above standard distribution. In fact, the standard directory tree /usr/local/share/texmf has been complemented by /usr/local/share/texmf-cern (CERN-specific extensions, such as CERN-related document classes, 35 Mbytes of supplementary font pk images, and language-specific formats) and /usr/local/share/texmf-updates (more recent versions of some packages than those distributed on the CDROM, such a babel, hyperref).

Including ``funny'' (E)PS files in LaTeX

Many people seem to encounter problems when they want to include ``Encapsulated'' PostScript (EPS) files in their LaTeX documents. Often they receive such files from a colleague and thus have no control at the production stage. In many other cases they use tools that produce non-conformant encapsulation (i.e., the application does not follow the rules laid out for the generation of EPS in the Adobe PostScript manual).

To try and solve problems with such files it can be useful to translate them first to PDF (Portable Document Format) and then back to EPS using a tool that works correctly. In many cases the following recipe works:

First transform your PS file to PDF. There is an Acrobat Distiller server that does that. Therefore, copy your PS files into the directory

After a few minutes you will find that your files appear (with the extension .pdf instead of .ps) in the directory
Then, assuming, for instance, that you have a file a.pdf that you found in the above directory, you can convert it to EPS with the command

convert a.pdf a.eps

Finally, if everything worked all right you will be able to use a.eps without problems with LaTeX.

XML developments

A lot of activity has taken place in the XML arena over the last months. In the area of document handling, the XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language) specification has been subdivided into three areas:

The first two are quite far advanced (they are in the proposed recommendation stage) and if everything works out as planned they will become W3C recommendations in a month or so.

Xpath and XSLT together are powerful tools to build XML to HTML and TeX converters (in fact XSLT allows you to transform XML sources into a whole set of target formats). As explained in the Letter from the Editor part at the beginning of this CNL, we have used this technology to produce the present CNL by writing two stylesheets, one to translate the XHTML to HTML (in fact the tricky part is getting the tree structure of documents on the Web in place) and one for going from XHTML to LaTeX, which is much more complicated, since the XHTML model maps very poorly onto LaTeX . This is especially true if one has to translate pages optimized for viewing on the Web (i.e., using color, visual effects, forms, etc.), which have no equivalent in LaTeX , that emphasizes structure rather than visual appearance.

For those interested in how this technique can be used, the following two URLs provide more information:

A series of lectures on XML (not only in the text-processing area, but also for databases, visualization, etc.) is planned for the third term (April-June 2000) of the Academic Training.

For matters related to this article please contact the author.

Last Updated on Tue Oct 05 19:13:46 GMT+03:30 1999.
Copyright © CERN 1999 -- European Laboratory for Particle Physics