My first LaTeX document

February 6, 2014

Donald Knuth is one of the people who got a Grasshopper banner animation (january 10th), but until last week I’d never seriously looked into(La)TeX, probably his most famous contribution to humanity. I’ve been invited to give a lecture at ICGG2014 come August and the abstracts and papers are to be submitted in either tex or doc format. Since I don’t own and can’t stand Word® and pretty much every other word processing software I’ve ever seen*, it seemed like a good opportunity to dive into TeX. It’s a curious mixture of pure awesomeness and horrific muck. One the one hand it’s extremely liberating to be able to program a document rather than write one. It seems that no matter what you want to do, there’s always a way to get there. I’m also very pleased about being able to write in pure text and compiling the final document, as opposed to trying to tell a GUI what it is I want and never quite knowing what monstrously nested makeup and layout tags are silently ganging up on me in the background.

But the implementations of TeX seem to suffer badly from softwareforprogrammersitis. TexWorks (which comes installed with MikTex for Windows) was clearly made by someone who has heard about that thing called UX but wants no truck with it. Once I have some time to do some more research I’ll definitely be looking at a lot of alternative editors, but the dozen or so I’ve seen so far do not fill me with hope. With a bit of luck the LaTeX for Sublime Text will work better.

Anyone has any suggestions?


* TechWriter for RiscOs was ok, but I no longer own an Acorn machine and this was 20 years ago.