Re: LaTeX, HTML, and Adobe PDF

Roy T. Fielding (fielding@avron.ICS.UCI.EDU)
Thu, 15 Sep 1994 18:54:20 -0700

Leslie Lamport writes:

> There seems to be disagreement about whether we also need something
> more--namely, a new, wonderful HTML standard for scientific documents.
> I propose that we defer any decision about that, and try to get what
> we agree upon done quickly.

I don't see why we can't do both. HTML is already split into separate
levels/versions to allow for "what we want now" to be documented/implemented
while "what we want in the future" is being discussed.

Meanwhile, it would be useful for WWW browsers to handle the dvi format
if it is extended to handle hypertext links. I am not convinced that
it can be done (LaTeX is pretty well fragmented already), but I would
still like to see someone try it. However, HTML development should
not stop just because someone else thinks they have a "better way" --
implement the "way" first and then we'll decide if it's "better".

> Adopting Acrobat as a standard for embedded graphics in HTML documents
> may be a reasonable way to proceed. I know hardly anything about
> Acrobat. The relevant question seems to be: How much work is it to
> convert a program that now produces Postscript to one that produces
> Acrobat?

Not much work at all, though you will only get something readable if
that document uses true PostScript fonts (e.g. no bitmaps from metafont
translations). Also, although the PDF spec is "open", it is still a
proprietary standard because Adobe controls its extensibility.

BTW, does anyone know where the current PDF spec is stored? It does not
appear to be where I would expect it:


....Roy Fielding ICS Grad Student, University of California, Irvine USA
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