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Developments: late 1996 to mid 1997

During the latter part of 1996 there was much work on improving the capabilities of LATEX2HTML. Some of this was due to the World Wide Web Consortium's proposals for HTML 3.2, becoming a formal recommendation in November 1996, and their subsequent acceptance in January 1997. Existing LATEX markup for effects such as centering, left- or right-justification of paragraphs, flow of text around images, table-layout with formal captions, etc. could now be given a safe translation into HTML 3.2, compliant with a standard that would guarantee that browsers would be available to view such effects.

At the same time developers were exploring ways to enhance the overall performance of LATEX2HTML. As a result the current V97.1 release has significant improvements in the following areas:

* image-generation
is much faster, requires less memory and inline images are aligned more accurately;
* image quality
is greatly improved by the use of anti-aliasing effects for on-screen clarity, in particular with mathematics, text and line-drawings;
* memory-requirements
are much reduced, particularly with image-generation;
* mathematics
can now be handled using a separate parsing procedure; images of sub-parts of expressions can be created, rather than using a single image for the whole formula;
* macro definitions
having a more complicated structure than previously allowed, can now be successfully expanded;
* counters
and numbering are no longer entirely dependent on the .aux file generated by LATEX;
* decisions
about which environments to include or exclude can now be made;
* HTML effects
for which there is no direct LATEX counterpart can be requested in a variety of new ways;
* HTML code
produced by the translator is much neater and more easily readable, containing more comments and fewer redundant breaks and <P> tags.
* error-detection
of simple LATEX errors, such as missing or unmatched braces, is now performed -- a warning message shows a line or two of the source code where the error has apparently occurred;

For these developments, thanks goes especially to:
Jens Lippmann
for creating and maintaining the CVS repository at This has made it much easier for the contributions from different developers to be collected and maintained as a ``development version'' which is kept up-to-date and available at all times. Together with Marek Rouchal he produced an extensive rewrite of the texexpand utility.

Ross Moore
for extensive work on almost all aspects of the LATEX2HTML source and documentation, combining code for LATEX, Perl, HTML and other utilities. Most of the coding for the new features based on HTML 3.2, many of the new packages, faster image-generation and the improved support for mathematics and other environments, is his work.

Marek Rouchal
for extending the former pstogif utility, transforming it into pstoimg which now allows for alternative image formats, such as PNG. Also he produced the neat configure-pstoimg script, which eases LATEX2HTML installation, and a rewrite of texexpand.

Marcus Hennecke
who has always been there, up-to-date with developments in HTML and related matters concerning Web publishing, and tackling the issues involved with portability of LATEX2HTML to Unix systems on various platforms.

Furthermore Marcus has produced LATEX2HTML-NG, a version of LATEX2HTML which handles expansion of macros in a more ``TEX-like'' fashion. This should lead to further improvements in speed and efficiency, while allowing complicated macro definitions to work as would be expected from their expansions under LATEX. (This requires Perl 5, using some programming features not available with Perl 4.)

Fabrice Popineau
has produced an adaptation for the Windows NT platform, of LATEX2HTML V97.1.

Uli Wortmann
showed how to configure Ghostscript to produce anti-aliasing effects within images.

Axel Ramge
for various suggestions and examples of enhancements, and the code to avoid a problem with Ghostscript.

Thanks also to all those who have made bug-reports, supplied fixes or offered suggestions as to features that might allow LATEX2HTML to be used more efficiently in particular circumstances. Most of these have been incorporated into this new version V97.1, though perhaps not in the form originally envisaged. Such feedback has contributed enormously to helping make LATEX2HTML the easy to use, versatile program that it has now become.

Keep the ideas coming!

next up previous contents index
Next: 1st LATEX2HTML Workshop Darmstadt, Up: The LATEX2HTML Translator Previous: Later Developments, 1995-1996   Contents   Index
Maciek Gajewski 2002-03-20