RE: AW: Postscript HTTP server

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From: Jim Whitehead (
Date: Thu Apr 27 2000 - 11:49:54 PDT

> That's sort of unfairly dismissive of Postscript, don't you think?
> It's a fairly nice programming language (for those who like that sort
> of thing), with some really nice geometric and text-formatting
> primitives.

Guilty as charged.

Actually, now that I think about it, Postscript is an excellent example of a
technical frame of reference. Even though Postscript is a full programming
language, it has been framed as a "printer" and "document page layout"
technology. We, who have adopted the technology, have implicitly bought
into this technical framing. Even when we know and understand it's a full
programming language, we tend to accept the framing because most of us do
not need the possibilities opened up by a new programming language -- we
have more than enough expressive power with our current programming
languages, and they're usually better suited to the task. So, we continue
on our way, using Postscript as a printer and document technology without
much thought, just getting our job done.

So, in retrospect, the reason I considered the Postscript Web server
amusing, and an interesting hack, is because the technology was used out of
its frame of reference.

But, technical framing or no, I was indeed "unfairly dismissive" of
Postscript. As penance, I went out searching the Web for high-quality
Postscript bits.

At first, I went looking for a full-strength Postscript development
environment, and found one:


It's available from Quite Software (with a name like that, it is indeed a
British company).

Quite also has a page of Postscript resources, at:

This led me to the comp.lang.postscript FAQ:

And, serendipitously, to the Internet FAQ Archive:

It also has a link to a book on programming in Postscript, available for
free as a PDF file, called "Thinking in Postscript".
The author, Glen Reid, laments the fact it never made it past the first
printing. Go figure.

He also wrote the Postscript "Green Book", titled "PostScript Language
Program Design", copyright 1987.

OK, I feel I have expiated my ignorance, and completed my penance. I now
return to my familiar framing of Postscript.

- Jim

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