[texhax] [OS X TeX] LaTeX programming primer

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Thu Oct 26 13:21:37 CEST 2006

I tried sending this to the LaTeX-L list, but it hasn't shown up  
there --- is that list down?

Anyway, maybe there's something here texhax readers would like to  
comment on.


On Oct 26, 2006, at 5:34 AM, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> Le 26 oct. 06 à 10:57, Gerben Wierda a écrit :
>> On 26 Oct 2006, at 10:39 , Paul Vickers wrote:
>>> I was messing around with the currvita style in order to migrate  
>>> my CV from Word to LaTeX and inevitably got into trying to hack  
>>> some of the layout features. Whilst the hack-it-and-see-what- 
>>> happens approach can be fun, it can also consume rather more time  
>>> than one should spend on getting, for example, the first letter  
>>> of a paragraph just that right shade of blue. So, my question is  
>>> this: are there any free online/downloadble guides to TeX  
>>> programming where I can learn exactly what all those \@@ and ##1  
>>> etc aracana really mean and how to use them?
>> The TeX Book is a very good book on learning the basics of TeX  
>> programming.
> Another reference is "TeX by Topic, A TeXnician's Reference" by  
> Victor Eijkhout. It's available freely at <http://www.eijkhout.net/ 
> tbt/>, with donations suggested.
> Beware though: you'll learn everything about \@@ and ##1, but the  
> book deals with plain TeX, not LaTeX. For LaTeX, the ultimate  
> reference for all the possibilities offered by the myriad of  
> packages around (including some for layout) is "The LaTeX  
> Companion, 2nd edn" by Frank Mittelbach, Michel Goossens, Johannes  
> Braams, David Carlisle, Chris Rowley <http://www.awprofessional.com/ 
> bookstore/product.asp?isbn=0201362996&rl=1>. But it's not free.
> Some useful pointers to documentation: for books <http:// 
> www.tug.org/books/>, and more generally (tutorials, manuals, etc.)  
> <http://www.tug.org/interest.html#doc>.

Unfortunately there's nothing AFAIK which touches to the heart of  
Paul's question, ``What reference is there which teaches one a good  
programming style for LaTeX without involving one in (unnecessary?)  
deep Plain TeX hacking, which while necessary for actually creating  
LaTeX should not be desired for extending it (in an ideal world?).''

That said, there are some docs here:


Unfortunately ``Modifying LaTeX'' is about licensing and  
distribution. The closest thing here is:


Also there's the typeset source to LaTeX 2e itself --- a question  
I've often wondered about is what would be the minimum one would need  
to know before being able to read that with understanding?

Victor Eijkhout made some interesting course materials available a  
while back --- still trying to find the time to read through those.

I've gone ahead and cc:d the LaTeX-L list which arguably is a better  
place to discuss this.


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications

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