LaTeX build server in Ruby

So — I’ve been writing functional specs at work in [LaTeX](, a system for writing documents in a code-y markup language. Seems to fit nicely with being in a programmer headspace. The only thing, really, is that you have to compile your document. A bit of a ballache. But — I’ve also been learning [Ruby](, and found it easy to knock up a program that sits patiently waiting for you to save your `.tex` source file, then recompiles it in the background.

So, if you want to use it, here’s how it works;

1. modify the script below to point to your own latex distribution and source file.
2. run the script to start the ‘build server’
3. open your `.tex` file, make a change, and save it.
4. watch your ruby program spring to life and compile to a `.dvi` file
5. Open that `.dvi` file in a viewer; I’m using `yap`.
6. make more changes to your `.tex` file. Every time you save it, the .dvi file will be updated, and `yap` will reload it, giving you instant feedback on your changes. It’s just like a wysiwyg editor! almost!


# LaTeX build server!
# Steve Cooper

file = “c:\documents and settings\steve\Desktop\bulk-activation-specification.tex”

cmd = “”C:\Program Files (x86)\MiKTeX 2.7\miktex\bin\latex.exe” –interaction=nonstopmode “” + file + “””
print “Compilation command:n #{ cmd }nn”

class String
def mtime

lastmtime = file.mtime

while true
currentTime = file.mtime
if (currentTime > lastmtime) then
print “file modified at ” + currentTime.to_s
lastmtime = currentTime
print “Compiling ” + file + “n”
system cmd
print “. ”
sleep 1


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