Saturday, January 5, 2008

ToDo: LaTeX

LaTeX: from quick and dirty to style and finesse

Small LaTeX Tutorial

Learning TeX was on my to do list many moons ago but more or less fail off the chopping block because when I 'need' printed files that go beyond pure text I'll usually use Vim to write up a quick doc using (X)HTML and CSS. Because I'd rather write a web page for printing then use a word processor.... MS Word, SWriter, KWord, Abiword, bah humbug -- piles of crap.

LaTeX shouldn't be to bad a starting point, I'm not sure if there is much documentation left for plain ol'TeX yet (also on the todo list).

I did try Lyx in the last and even TeXmacs (which does not use TeX but can export to TeX/LaTeX)... But like WYSIWYG HTML Editors (Nvu, Dreamweaver e.t.c.) I ruled them out as paper weights.

When I tried to learn Vim, I refused to use the GUI (gvim) and used it in console mode only... Couldn't even figure out how to save a file at first and I dumped it for XEmacs. Sure enough some day I went back and learned Vim, *my way* in console mode and it's like my arm or a foot... not a crutche but a tool.

The difference between a tool and a crutch, is a tool helps you get work done. A crutch is an excuse not to learn how to do the work. Whether WYSIWYG programs become tools or crutches are a matter of the end users future.

So it is much the same that I would prefer to learn Tex / LaTeX through code not through 'easy' interfaces. I learned XHTML and CSS because I was bored one day and decided I'm sitting down and learning to write a web page, I just hit W3C and the road laid before me.

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