The system can be activated with a sequence of commands of the following form.
latex x (or `tex x') latex x latex x tex4ht x dvi-to-gif x
The three compilations with La(TeX) are needed to ensure proper links. The approach is illustrated in the following picture.
tex4htto use. The special instructions come from requests made in the source file through commands of TeX4ht.
tex4ht translates the dvi code into standard text, while obeying the requests it gets from the
special instructions. The special instructions may request the creation of new files, insertion of html code, filtering of
pictures, and so forth.
In the extreme case that the source code contains no commands of TeX4ht, tex4ht gets pure dvi code and it outputs (almost) plain text with no html commands in it.
If appropriately configured, it can be used as a script for directing the translation of the pictures, and for executing system commands requested by the user.