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Chapter 14. LaTeX Package Documentation ... > 14.2. docstrip.tex—Producing ready-t...

14.2. docstrip.tex—Producing ready-to-run code

When doc was originally written in the late 1980s, the intention was to provide a “literate programming” environment [81] for LaTeX, in which LaTeX code and documentation were intermixed in the same source file. As it soon turned out, making TeX parse (and then ignore) all the documentation when reading a file added a heavy time penalty.1 To avoid this problem Frank Mittelbach looked for ways to automatically strip all comments from files written for the doc system.

1 In those days producing a single page with TeX could easily take half a minute or longer.

The problem with any external program developed for such a purpose is that it may or may not be available for the user’s operating system and even if available may not be installed. But one program is always available on a system that can run LaTeX: the TeX program itself. To achieve widest portability, the DOCSTRIP program was therefore written in low-level TeX language. Since those early days the program has undergone many revisions that changed its purpose from being a simple stripping device to serving as a fully customizable installation tool—one that is even able to distribute files to the right directories on a target machine. Johannes Braams, Denys Duchier, Marcin Woliński, Mark Wooding, David Carlisle, and others contributed to this metamorphosis; details of the program’s evolution can be found in the documented source (which uses literate programming, of course). Here are today’s main applications of the DOCSTRIP program:


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