[texworks] Beginners' needs (was: Lua scripting)

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at me.com
Thu Jun 18 10:23:02 CEST 2009

Le 17 juin 09 à 23:13, Karl Berry a écrit :

>    Probably a more generic document (mentionning latex, xelatex,
>    context, maybe plain) would be an interesting addition for a future
>    texworks "help links" menu.
> FWIW, my attempt at a web page along these lines, sort of, is
> http://tug.org/levels.html.

Hi Karl,

That's nice, but I'm a bit worried that the beginner might be  
overwhelmed already with the introduction of 5 new concepts in one go  
(distributions, front ends, packages, formats, engines).

Perhaps changing the order of points 3 to 5 would make these easier to  

1. Distribution: what the user installs

2. Front end: what the user uses after installation (ie, the software  
she interacts with)

3. Engine: the executable invoked by the front end under the hood

4. Format: a standard set of predefined commands read by the engine

5. Packages: additional optional sets of predefined commands,  
specialized for a particular purpose

Most users in the mathematical, physical or engineering sciences will  
be familiar with the concept of packages already, from Mathematica,  
MATLAB or Maple.

Since, for TeX, a package is build on top of a format built itself on  
top of an engine, I find it a bit difficult to introduce/understand  
the notion of a package when you don't know what a format is and to  
introduce/understand the notion of a format when you don't know what  
an engine is.


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