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Don't write in LaTeX; It's just for typesetting (danielallington.net)
2 points by enow to dev tex analysis opinion 726 days ago | 3 comments
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18864612


2 points by enow 726 days ago

What it is good for however would be doing mathematical formulas. I don't really see any options. MathML is not supported as widely as it should for example. The guys over at Microsoft is doing a lot with UTF-8 support for math editing, which is quite interesting.

For those of you who are interested in math editing without having to memorize all the latex key words I have a prototype of an alternative system. See below.

http://roosevelt.eruditenow.com/bootstrap.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLRXs55MpOA&feature=youtu.be

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2 points by graygnome 726 days ago

I feel that this article ignores the biggest advantage of LaTeX: templates and macros. Word processors or WYSIWYG editors make it very hard to share typesetting style. On the other hand, if I want to format my text into an ACM paper there's a template for that, if I want to make a PDF for my 'zine that I'm publishing, there's a different template for that, just like there's a template for publishing my resume. Iterating on this style can happen independently to iterating on the content, and you can let other LaTeX users tweak on the actual typesetting.

I do agree that reading LaTeX or TeX in general is a bit hard, but there's been a lot of ergonomic improvements in that regard, which the article only mentions in passing. ConTeXt [1] is a pretty nice system with a much more "sane" set of default directives. There's also LuaTeX [2] if you just want to write Lua. Scribble [3] can also generate both great web documentation and good PDF documentation. On that note, I really don't find TeX that difficult to write but that is probably just pure personal opinion.

[1]: https://wiki.contextgarden.net/Main_Page

[2]: http://luatex.org/

[3]: https://docs.racket-lang.org/scribble/index.html

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This is an impressive number of words that can be boiled down to: "don't get sucked into yak-shaving, just do the work". Important life skills, especially for grad students!

It's a snappy title, but if you read the article it basically boils down to "if you're writing prose-heavy papers as opposed to equation-heavy papers, LaTeX is probably not the best choice".

As @graygnome pointed out, a lot of the angst of choosing a style is made for you in an academic or corporate setting, whether it's LaTeX or Word or anything else. This is a strawman, which, to be fair, can be said about the slam against word processors that the LaTeX site presents. I seem to remember the exact same formulation back when I got sucked into the LaTeX world in the mid-90s.

A lot has happened since then. I think anyone who writes a lot appreciates the tools that any word processor has now to structure text and separate content from presentation.

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