About This Software

This document describes how to use the HTMLDOC software, version 1.7. HTMLDOC is a HTML document processing program that generates indexed HTML, Adobe® PostScriptTM, and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF 1.2) files suitable for printing or online viewing.

No restrictions are placed upon the output produced by HTMLDOC.


Like many programs HTMLDOC was developed in response to a need my company had for generating high-quality documentation in printed and electronic forms. For a while we used FrameMaker® and a package from Silicon Graphics that generated "compiled" SGML files that could be used by the Electronic Book Technologies documentation products (EBT is now owned by INSO.) When SGI stopped supporting these tools we were stuck. INSO laughed in our faces when we said we could afford up to $10k (!) for an updated book generation product that would work with the IRIX, Solaris, and HP-UX documentation systems. Other solutions were nearly as expensive, or simply not capable of doing the things we needed.

Because of these things I decided to write my own program to generate our documentation. HTML seemed to be the source format of choice since WYSIWYG HTML editors are widely (and freely) available and at worst you can use a plain text editor. We needed HTML output for documentation on our web server, PDF for customers to read and/or print from their computers, and PostScript for our own printing needs.

The result of my efforts is the HTMLDOC software which is now available for UNIX® and Microsoft® Windows®. Among other things, this user's guide was produced by HTMLDOC.

Why Just HTML?

Some people have asked why this program only deals with HTML input files and is not able to read any Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) file. The reasons are numerous but basically boil down to:
  1. SGML is a moving target since all SGML documents use Document Type Definition (DTD) files to define what markups are actually supported. Formatting and processing can become a nightmare if the DTD file contains even a single typographic error. Also, this would make the front-end parsing code that generates the document markup tree considerably larger than it already is, not to mention complicating the output code.
  2. Tools for SGML file generation cost considerably more than software that generates HTML files. Also, the number of HTML tools is at least an order of magnitude greater than the number of SGML tools!
In the future I may add support for XML files, but at present XML has very little in the way of tools. Time will tell...

Organization of This Manual

This manual is organized into the following chapters and appendices: If you have downloaded one of the many precompiled binaries from our FTP server then you can skip chapter 1.

If You Have Problems

If you have difficulty using or compiling HTMLDOC please send EMail to "". Additional information can also be found at the HTMLDOC web page at "".

Copyright and Trademark Information

The Adobe Portable Document Format is Copyright 1993, 1996 by Adobe Systems Incorporated. PostScript is a trademark that may be registered in some countries and Adobe and FrameMaker are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems, Incorporated.

The Graphics Interchange Format is the copyright and GIFSM is a a service mark property of CompuServe Incorporated.

Microsoft, Windows, Windows 95, and Windows NT are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

SPARC is a registered trademark of SPARC International, Inc.

Solaris is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.

IRIX is a trademark of Silicon Graphics, Inc.

Digital is a trademark of Digital Equipment Corporation.

UNIX is a registered trademark of the X/Open Company, Ltd.

HTMLDOC is copyright 1997-1999 by Michael Sweet. This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

A copy of the GNU General Public License is included in Appendix B of this manual. If this appendix is missing from your copy of HTMLDOC, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.

This software is based in part on the work of the Independent JPEG Group.