Advanced printing/layout tools

Polytropon freebsd at
Fri Jan 1 18:19:05 UTC 2010

On Fri, 01 Jan 2010 12:11:05 -0600, Doug Poland <doug at> wrote:
> On 2010-01-01 11:42, Polytropon wrote:
> > On Fri, 01 Jan 2010 11:30:09 -0600, Doug Poland<doug at>  wrote:
> >> Hello,
> >>
> >> I've been tasked to print a phonebook style directory for an
> >> organization.  The data will be coming out of a MySQL database and can
> >> be easily saved as comma-delimited, or whatever text format I need.
> >>
> >> My specific question is, what open source tools would one use to tackle
> >> a project like this?  I'm very comfortable in a CLI and do not
> >> require/desire a GUI.
> >
> > I'd suggest to use awk + LaTeX. I've been very happy with this
> > combination for a various number of tasks - just as you mentioned:
> > Data coming from some kind of database (MySQL, CSV or whatever)
> > and should then be layouted.
> >
> >
> Thanks for the info. I had a feeling I'd be introduced to LaTeX sooner
> or later.  Should be plenty of web resources for such a venerable tool.

In fact, there are. I had been learning LaTeX in the age of
the absence of the all-knowing Internet. :-) But honestly,
it's not that hard, as it seems that you'll be creating lists
primarily. A simple preamble should be sufficient, with
no extraordinary "bells & whistles".

A bit understanding of awk is useful here, too, because it
allows you to manipulate both the data and the tex output
with the same tools. You end up with a fine readable (and
maintainable) program.

I've been using this combination for automatically creating
reports, datasheets, applications, dataset lists, medication
lists and forms, calendars, and many other kinds of documents.

LaTeX is your guarantee that it looks appealing to the reader.
I'm not aware of a tool that can do the same, with the same
minimal interaction time.

Best of all: Everything is plain text.

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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