UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The design and implementation of a document processor Van den Bosch, Peter Nico


With the growing use of computers as tools for the automation of clerical tasks, there has come not only a proliferation of documentation, but the realization that computers could be employed in automating certain aspects of the production of documents — not only such documents as describe computer developments, but also papers, briefs, letters, etc. The runoff program, usually an adjunct to a text editing facility, has been in existence for a long time, but its use has been limited to computing installations and those directly involved with computing. The reason for this is two-fold: public unawareness, and the ad hoc nature of runoff program design have prevented wider use. This thesis is an attempt to present a reasoned design of a program which acts enough like a rather intelligent typewriter to be usable by members of the public, but gives the user with a greater computing background enough power of expression in terms of programming language and layout design, to overcome some of the limitations of earlier runoff programs. Previous work in the area of text processing which relates to document processing is examined in some detail. The underlying ideas common to existing document-processing facilities are brought forth, and examined in the light of what a user might reasonably expect of such a facility. The resulting design for a document processor is presented in an orderly fashion, outlining the reasons for design decisions and backing away respectfully from designs which are unfeasible for economic implementation. An entire chapter is devoted to a description of the resulting document processor, in the form of a somewhat rarified user's manual. Suggestions for and details of an implementation are given, based on the author's own experiences with implementation. A bibliography and a short glossary of the most important terms and those most likely to confuse are appended to the thesis.

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