[Lispweb] PDF

Tim Moore moore at bricoworks.com
Fri Jan 25 16:26:29 CST 2002


On Fri, 25 Jan 2002, Marc Battyani wrote:

> I stopped looking at libraries and I'm rather reading the PDF Reference
> manual.
> >From what I see I'm sure that it is very simple indeed. (or I have missed a
> point)

The actual structure of a PDF file is not that simple.  For one thing,
it's a binary file, not ASCII.  There is an object table that matches up
object IDs with their position in the file, so you have to maintain that.
Also, the streams of graphics commands are generally compressed, and while
it's possible (IIRC) to write out uncompressed streams of commands, the
resulting PDF files will be much larger than need be.  The compression
aspect will be a bit of a pain in Lisp.

I've had reasonably good luck generating PostScript with the pdf specials
understood by Distiller and Ghostscript (mostly), but you do give up some
of the features of PDF.

I started from the other end, writing Lisp code that parses PDF files.
Although in an unfinished state, I can send you the code if you want.

Tim





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