Generating PDF on Windows

Rohan Pall [L1 ], (2002-10-09) October 9, 2002

There doesn't seem to be many options when you're trying to generate PDF (what an infernal format) with Tcl/Tk on Microsoft Windows especially for scientific text.

Using a miktex backend

This seems crazy, there are so many files in the complete distribution, it's insanity! But there seems to be a lot of useful LaTeX extensions (I've got a chemistry bent so it has to generate chemical text well)

What files are needed (what do I ship with) and how do I call those files to generate PDF? I'm going to start with LaTeX source, using chemistry extensions.

Using the canvas to generate Postscript then converting to PDF

This seems too low-level for chemical text.

Docbook backend

Is there chemical markup and win32 command line tools available for it?

A lot more research is needed... your help is more than welcome

So far the best way seems to be to go with the LaTeX backend and just decipher miktex. What do you think?

I have used Lout with the -PDF option. See [L2 ] and get v3.25 . It runs on lots of different Unixes as well as Win32, and fits on a floppy.

I find the output clean and it works well with many different printers. If you are making heavy use of the diag or eqn package in lout, it might make sense to generate PS first, then convert to PDF using Ghostscript. I get the best output from such a combination.

Plus, the docs are very well written. (lout comments by Patrick Giagnocavo, [email protected])

Do you have lout version 3.25 precompiled for Win32? I was only able to find a 3.24 win32 binary. Thanks, lout looks really promising ;)


For low level drawing of a PDF you can use PDFlib. I use this on Linux and it does a really good job. Of course it's *really* lowlevel. But it might be possible to use this to create a package that can do almost anything you want. JAC

I would rather use something that already does scientific text rendering... I don't want to have to build my own LaTeX or lout ;) Plus I don't have the cash for the commercial PDFlib license ;(

AM For what it is worth, we found that HTMLDOC [L3 ] is doing just what we want - via a GUI and command-line driven.

Sarnold: I recently came to know about LibHaru [L4 ], for which bindings to Lua and Ruby are available. I want to mention it is free, open-source software.