Post Script

From the PostScript reference manual:

"The PostScript(R) language is a simple interpretive programming language with powerful graphics capabilities. Its primary application is to describe the appearance of text, graphical shapes, and sampled images on printed or displayed pages. A program in this language can communicate a description of a document from a composition system to a printing system or control the appearance of text and graphics on a display. The description is high level and device independent."

PostScript is not just a file format. In fact, it is not a file format at all, it is a full-fledged programming language in every sense of the word; DonLancaster has long been one of its most outspoken advocates.

EPS (Encapsulated Post Script) is a file format, sort of, but basically it is just a simple wrapper around PostScript programs that annotates simple things such as page boundaries.

PostScript the language was the basis of the NetworkExtensibleWindowSystem and DisplayPostscript.

PostScript is an explicit postfix-operator stack language, as is ForthLanguage, but they are otherwise unrelated (see ForthPostscriptRelationship)

A while back I saw an example in a UK computer magazine of a MandelbrotSet generator that was written in PostScript. You'd download it into the printer, and when it wasn't printing, it would generate the Mandelbrot fractal. Results could be retrieved via a bidirectional parallel cable.

A friend of mine was fond of doing this in the late 1980s. Adobe hired him, and eventually a large percentage of their in-house printers were running Mandelbrot (and later Pentaminoe-solvers) in their spare time.

PostScript is cool. I learned it from the books and used it to write a guitar tablature typesetter in PS some years back ( It was written in PS to be WriteOnceRunAnywhere because at the time, at least with the university-based 'net community, you were more likely to have access to GhostScript or a PS printer than any particular computer platform. Output is fairly poor by todays standards but someone wrote to me from NZ to say it had been used to typeset a book of banjo music...since it was written from the start to support any number of strings. After that, generating the EPS diagrams for my thesis was easy! -- BrianEwins

See the newsgroup faq,

GhostScript is a free implementation of PostScript. You can also find a front end for it called 'Ghost Gum'

See also: ProgrammingPostscript PdfSucks MathematicalIllustrations

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