P.S. Postscript is handy…

July 31, 2002 | General | By: Mark VandeWettering

Most people probably just think of Postscript as being that stuff that lives in your printer. I am probably one of the one in a million people who actually will type in Postscript programs by hand. I actually used Postscript to generate logos and stuff for this website.

Why bother learning Postscript?

  • It is a general purpose language with strong orientation toward vector graphics.

  • You can use it to do interesting manipulations on both textual and graphic data.

  • You can easily convert it to a wide variety of formats including PDF files and a wide variety of bitmap graphic formats.

I’ll eventually make a couple of web pages that describe some of the more clever hacks that I’ve managed to implement in Postscript, but for now I’ll just list a couple of interesting links:

Don Lancaster’s Guru’s Lair

I first became aware of Don Lancaster as a pre-teen electronics weenie reading The TTL Cookbook and The Cheap Video Cookbook. Don is an avid user of Postscript, and has many articles and hints on innovative ways to use Postscript.

The Capella Archive

This link is even nuttier. David Byram-Wigfield has an unusual interest in self publishing books. To maximize their portability and ease of editing, he doesn’t actually use any word processor: he writes books directly in Postscript, augmented by a clever set of Postscript routines that he calls his Minidict. It’s a somewhat perverse but very interesting idea. He even self publishes his own book Practical Postscript using the techniques that he describes. Using Ghostscript and/or Adobe Distiller you can easily convert these books into a wide variety of other formats.