How to Build a Typesetter

Subject: How to Build a Typesetter
From: "Jack Fitzpatrick" <jfitzpatrick@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 01:30:46 +0000
Though the discussions on this list primarily center around arcane DSSSL
issues, my main problem has been simply figuring out how to actually batch
process my documents on Unix.  I'm sure that there are other folks out there
like me who generate their *ML documents on Unix and need a way to produce
multiple page description formats, yet are frustrated by the inadequacy of
available tools.  I'll give a brief explanation of how I finally solved the
problem after many trials and tribulations.  If anyone is interested in
learning more, please contact me directly at the E-mail address below.

My problem was, though I could run Jade on Unix, I couldn't find any Unix
software that would process my document faithfully into a page description
language.  Finally, I decided to "cheat" and just figure out a way to pass
the document to Jade and MS Word on Windows from the Unix command line.

I'm learning Perl and just discovered that it does OLE, so I first copied a
very simple client-server pair of Perl scripts out of a book (duh).  The
client resides on Unix and the server on Win95 (NT would obviously be
better).  The Windows server (single-threaded for the time being) creates a
Word object using OLE and blocks on a socket. The Unix client takes either a
filename or STDIN, and writes the document to the socket.  The server reads
the socket, writes the document to a local file, and then runs Jade on it
with the appropriate parameters.  The resulting RTF file is then loaded into
Word by the server, and printed to a file (all using OLE from Perl).  The
output file is returned to the client over the socket, and finally written
to STDOUT on the Unix machine.  Thus, the client looks like a simple filter
on the Unix command line.  In goes SGML, out comes PCL (or Postscript if you

This is all actually easier than it sounds, yet somehow had evaded me for
months (again, duh).  You could probably dispense with Perl, and use IIS and
VBA, to simplify it even more.  I'm looking forward to eventually using IE5
to process my XML files on the server and dispensing with Jade/Word (and
DSSSL!).  But for now, what a relief!

Jack Fitzpatrick
Milwaukie, OR
(503) 786-3114

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