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The old and the new in document processing

Graham Allport (School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK)
Peter Jarratt (School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 1 January 1992



TEX is a well‐known system for the production of quality documents, offering the user a high degree of sophistication in the specification of the final format. It has companion packages (most notably LATEX) which allow other document processing activities, including the production of new fonts, pictures and extended production systems. It suffers from the criticism that it is now dated and does not offer WYSIWYG functionality. With the emergence of new technology and more powerful computing at the desktop, there is a high demand for a more graphics‐oriented interface to which the user can relate easily and which immediately lets him see the appearance of the document being planned. However, the emerging wordprocessing and document processing packages still have faults. The project described in this paper was aimed at rescuing the full power of the TEX packages in the newly emerging X‐windows technological context. We describe software which was produced to take full advantage of the facilities of both systems by translating TEX output into bit‐mapped images which can then be displayed on an X‐terminal and mixed with such facilities as the extra fonts available and bit‐maps produced in the X‐environment. An interactive environment is defined that gives the user flexibility in the creation of a document of high quality with a friendly human‐computer interface, which allows the windowing environment to give a new look to an old and well‐tried system. The advantages of this approach are many, and include the use of a well‐understood environment, a large amount of software in the public domain to extend the package and drive printers, and the exploitation of the emerging X‐window standard.


Allport, G. and Jarratt, P. (1992), "The old and the new in document processing", The Electronic Library, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 41-45.




Copyright © 1992, MCB UP Limited

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