[NTG-context] externalizing TikZ graphics

Henri Menke henri at henrimenke.de
Mon Jan 25 16:54:23 CET 2021

On Mon, 2021-01-25 at 16:42 +0100, Henning Hraban Ramm wrote:
> Hi,
> did anyone succeed in externalizing TikZ graphics with ConTeXt?

The external library is LaTeX-only and that unfortunately won't change because
it heavily relies on implementation detail of LaTeX's output routine.

> It’s about a project with hundreds of diagrams that (in the current state)
> clutter the main directory with cryptically-named PDFs (at least sorted by
> component name) and that on each ConTeXt run take a lot of runtime (I guess
> also the many log lines slow the process).
> In 2013, Aditya said it wasn’t possible to externalize pgf/TikZ graphics as
> documented in the pgf manual, and "perhaps" it would make sense to use his
> filter module:

filter is your best bet, in my opinion.

> https://mailman.ntg.nl/pipermail/ntg-context/2013/071162.html
> Did anyone try to do that? I didn’t find anything in this list’s archives.
> The original pgf way is two-pass, and you’d need to call LaTeX with the
> intended graphics name as --jobname; that’s far too much of a hassle for that
> many graphics.
> I generally like how the filter module works, as you can also define the name
> of every buffer, but my only experience with that is my LilyPond setup.
> If nobody has better advice, I’ll try to come up with a filter setup. That
> would mean we’d avoid the tikz module, every TikZ diagram will get written to
> a buffer of configurable name, and that (with preamble setup) will get run
> through LaTeX. I read pgf had some restrictions in plain TeX mode, but perhaps
> we can also use LuaTeX in plain mode to avoid the LaTeX dependency.
> Best, Hraban
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