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Kpathsea: A library for path searching

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5.1 Programming overview

Aside from this manual, your best source of information is the source to the programs I've modified to use Kpathsea (see section 1. Introduction). Of those, Dviljk is probably the simplest, and hence a good place to start. Xdvik adds VF support and the complication of X resources. Dvipsk adds the complication of its own config files. Web2c is source code I also maintain, so it uses Kpathsea rather straightforwardly, but is of course complicated by the Web to C translation. Finally, Kpsewhich is a small utility program whose sole purpose is to exercise the main path-searching functionality.

Beyond these examples, the `.h' files in the Kpathsea source describe the interfaces and functionality (and of course the `.c' files define the actual routines, which are the ultimate documentation). `pathsearch.h' declares the basic searching routine. `tex-file.h' and `tex-glyph.h' define the interfaces for looking up particular kinds of files. You may wish to use #include <kpathsea/kpathsea.h>, which includes every Kpathsea header.

The library provides no way for an external program to register new file types: `tex-file.[ch]' must be modified to do this. For example, Kpathsea has support for looking up Dvips config files, even though no program other than Dvips will likely ever want to do so. I felt this was acceptable, since along with new file types should also come new defaults in `texmf.cnf' (and its descendant `paths.h'), since it's simplest for users if they can modify one configuration file for all kinds of paths.

Kpathsea does not parse any formats itself; it barely opens any files. Its primary purpose is to return filenames. The GNU font utilities does contain libraries to read TFM, GF, and PK files, as do the programs above, of course.

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