VTK Textbook Updates

Warning

This is a work in progress.

We are pleased to provide an update on efforts to update the online resources for the fourth edition of the VTK textbook

The Three Efforts

There are three coordinated efforts ongoing each with a different goal. Currently, none of the efforts will rewrite sections of the fourth edition. These are the first steps to a possible fifth edition, but that effort will require significant resources.

  • The printed and free online PDF of the VTK textbook is the gold standard for this edition. The online PDF is a low-resolution version that exhibits some difficulty converting equations. It is available as one, down-loadable PDF with no active links. FrameMaker produces the PDF from FrameMaker files capable of producing different PDF resolutions. Editing the FrameMaker files requires a license from Adobe. It is unlikely the VTK community will have access to these proprietary files. Major contributors include Will Schroeder and other Kitware employees. See the PDF here.

  • A VTK LaTeX version of the VTK textbook is a work-in-progress effort. The goal is to produce a version populated with links to figures, references, equations, examples, etc. The PDF version is down-loadable as a single file. The figures that exist as VTK Examples are linked to the nightly output of the regression testing. Once this work is stable, the user community will be able to push merge requests to fix problems with the Latex. The major contributor is Andrew Maclean. You can follow the progress here.

  • A markdown version of the VTK textbook is also a work-in-progress. The goal is to produce an interactive, platform friendly version of the book. The entire text is available on as a Chapter by Chapter web site. The figures that exist as VTK Examples are linked to the nightly output of the regression testing. Once this work is stable, the user community will be able to push merge requests to fix problems with the markdown. The major contributors are Bill Lorensen and Bernhard Meehan. Bernhard has produced Latex for all 100 equations in the text. You can follow the progress here and other chapters.

The Markdown Effort

The markdown chapters started with the textbook PDF. We used a PDF to HTML Converter followed by an HTML to Markdown converter. The resulting Markdown file requires lots of hand editing, but much of this editing is repetitive. For the most part we did not edit the text. This means that Tcl in-line code still remains. Also API changes and new features in VTK are not included. A rewrite of the text is a much larger effort and may happen in the future.

We did add code to link figure references to the figures. We used a set of standard templates to caption the figures. We also link all references to VTK classes to their Doxygen documentation.

We handle two special cases:

1) Equations - Berhdard Meehan encoded all of the 100 equations in the text into Latex equations.

2) Figures - We used the VTKBookFigures to populate all of the figures generated by C++ or Tcl examples. Since Tcl is no longer supported, We translated the Tcl to C++ and Python. Also, Andrew Maclean created Python examples for all of the VTKBookFigures. Some figures do not have associated code, so we captured those figures from the PDF using screen captures.