HTML is a powerful markup language for individual Web pages, but it
has some serious limitations for maintaining entire Web sites
(i.e. a collection of Web pages which needs to be kept consistent).
GTML is an HTML pre-processor which adds some extra features
specially designed for maintaining multiple Web pages.
How does it work?
GTML commands among the HTML in your source files.
GTML reads and processes the
GTML commands, but leaves the
rest of the text unchanged (so it will work straight away on your
existing Web pages).
HTML files generated by
GTML are just like any other HTML files.
GTML doesn't attempt to interpret your HTML commands in
any way, it's fully compatible with all versions of HTML, and
doesn't require any specific browser or server.
GTML for you?
If you write the HTML in your Web pages by hand using a simple text
editor, then you'll find
GTML useful. If, on the other hand,
you use a sophisticated graphical tool to generate your HTML, you
probably won't be able to use
GTML. There are three reasons for this:
- Your sophisticated tool won't understand the
commands, and might even complain violently about them.
GTML operates in a command-line batch mode, and your
sophisticated tool probably operates from a graphical environment.
- The source for
GTML is in files ending in .gtm
(or .gtml), and it generates the .html
files. Your sophisticated tool probably generates the .html
Here are some of the things you can do with
- Create a project file with the names of all your Web pages, so
you can update them all with one simple click or command.
- Process only files which sources have changed directly, or with the help
- Generate a
makefile to control the process of your Web pages,
based on their dependencies.
- Give a specific alias to a filename, useable as constants, so that it is
easy to move files and have links preserved.
- Specify a tree-like hierarchy of Web pages, so you can add Next,
Previous and Up links automatically to your site.
- Automatically generate a map of your site, with the possibility of
customizing the way this table of contents will look like.
- Use named constants for HTML fragments to save typing, ensure
consistency and make changes easily.
- Use environment variables as named constants.
- Include header, footer and other common files into all your HTML
files. This doesn't require Server-Side Includes.
- Include timestamps (in any format you like) to show the time of last
process, or of last modification.
- Use conditional commands to create different versions of the output
under different circumstances.
- Generate output to different directories to generate different versions
of your site (for example, a Frames version and a non-Frames version).
- Change extensions of output files from .html to whatever
you want, so that you may, for instance, use MultiViews options of
Apache server, or create non-HTML files.
- Guard special characters `<', `>' and `&' in normal text so
that they don't get confused with HTML commands.
- Define your own characters translations, so that you may easily input
your non-ASCII characters into
shell code into your source, so
that you may easily generate pages with computed information.
- Generate pages with all superfluous HTML code removed, so that readers
retrieve them faster and may save bandwidth.
GTML features and commands are described on the
GTML Reference page.
GTML is written in Perl. If you don't have Perl, it's easy to
obtain it on
There are two methods to download
GTML Perl script, and save it to a file called
gtml.pl. If you're running this under UNIX, edit
the first line to point to the location of your version of
Perl, and give the execute right to the file.
GTML archives containing Perl script as well as
documentations. Archives are available in
or gzipped tar format.
The home page of
GTML is at
GTML source files end in .gtm (or .gtml), not
.html. If you're using
GTML on existing HTML files, simply
rename them with the ending .gtm (or .gtml).
GTML is run from the command line, like this:
perl gtml.pl fred.gtm harry.gtm bill.gtm
(The UNIX version won't need the
Perl at the front, so long as
the script is executable.)
The output of this command will be in
If you have a
GTML project file,
you include this on the command line. In this case, it's not necessary to list
any of the files in the project as well.
Remember that you can use
-D on the
command line to create named constants. You can have as many
options as you like. Make sure they appear before the file names to
which they apply. For example, if you say:
perl gtml.pl -DNAME=Fred fred.gtm harry.gtm -DTYPE=car bill.gtm
NAME is defined for all three files and
is defined for
GTML will try to process some
project file. It will look at these configuration
files in this order:
Thoses files, if they exist, are parsed before command line is processed.
You may have a look at the source of the documentation pages of
the source directory. The project file is called
Other HTML pre-processors
Here is a list of other HTML pre-processors that I know of, in
GTML will not satisfy your needs:
GTML is distributed under the GNU General Public License
Copyright © 1996-1999
Copyright © 1999
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
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.
For a long time I was looking for a way of maintaining some of the sites
that I set up for the research team which I am member of. I wanted to get a
tool which would enable me to easily change the look and feel of all pages of
a site, and easily move pages of a site from one location to another.
I then used all my favourite search engines on the web, and found some
pages, describing such tools. I tried some. They all missed something, from ease
of use, to important features. When I tried
GTML, from Gihan, I found
it was pretty cool, but lacking some important features that I needed.
I wrote to Gihan asking him to add those features which I needed, since I
had no Perl programming skill. He told me that he doesn't have time to do that
in the near future. So I decided to read his code, and to learn Perl with his
The script was pretty well written and I learnt Perl, or at least understand
GTML worked very fast. It was then easy to add the features that I needed in it. I then asked Gihan if he would mind if I distribute
GTML under the
GNU General Public License, since his license policy was not as open as GPL,
and he accepted.
Then I just updated some of the docs, prepared an archive, in the
GNU spirit, and that was it.
My biggest question was to understand where the name of the tool come from,
and after some reflexions I got two possible answers:
G' is the letter just before H, and
GTML source production
comes just before HTML file one.
G' is the first letter of Gihan's first name.
Well this is not a question anymore, Gihan told me the truth. Guess
what? I found it: the first of my two previous hypotheses is the right
one. (Well I hope that as time goes by it will be interpreted as GNU
After I distributed it on my web pages, and after announcing it only on
I got some feedback from users coming from all around the world. I added some
features which were asked of me, but realized that the source of the script
needed some reorganization, and that there were some bugs in
I have done this source reorganization, and so have been able to fix bugs,
and add a lot of fancy features. So now I'm waiting for users' feedback, in
order to verify that I did not add bugs
:-), and that
GTML is now
In one month or so I hope to be able to say that it does. So I
really need your help for that, please give me some feedback!.
I will not add any features, before the next stable release.
I hope my version of
GTML will help you as it helps me.
--Bruno, 31 August 1999