Publishing with Perl and Latex

Problem: Annual phonebook updates take up too many man-hours as designers start with CSV and lay out phonebook in Quark Express. (Phonebooks take about two weeks to generate.)

Solution: Generate LaTeX with Perl. (Phonebooks take about fifteen seconds to generate, fifteen seconds to convert to PDF, and are now updated weekly.)

Stuff to see:

  • makepbook, the perl program which generates the dynamic parts of the phonebook. I’d redesign parts now, but I was pretty new at complex data structures in perl back then.
  • The LaTeX source of the main file which gets things going. (It includes a handful of other files, some static, some generated by makepbook.)
  • Some sample output of makepbook. The magic’s in the main LaTeX file; all this is is just columns of data.
  • The result!