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What is sgmlspl?

sgmlspl is a sample application distributed with the perl5 class library -- you can use it to convert SGML documents to other formats by providing a specification file detailing exactly how you want to handle each element, external data entity, subdocument entity, CDATA string, record end, SDATA string, and processing instruction. sgmlspl also uses the SGMLS::Output library (included in this distribution) to allow you to redirect or capture output.

To use sgmlspl, you simply prepare a specification file containing regular perl5 code. If your SGML document were named doc.sgml, your sgmlspl specification file were named,, and the name of your new file were doc.latex, then you could use the following command in a Unix shell to convert your SGML document:

sgmls doc.sgml | sgmlspl > doc.latex

sgmlspl will pass any additional arguments on to the specification file, which can process them in the regular perl5 fashion. The specification files used to convert this manual -- and -- are available with the distribution.

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David Megginson <>