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

Jérome Laurens jerome.laurens at u-bourgogne.fr
Fri Jun 19 08:47:59 CEST 2009

Le 19 juin 09 à 05:51, David J. Perry a écrit :

> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Manuel Pégourié-Gonnard" <mpg at elzevir.fr 
> >
>> So, isn't it a problem that the user must select the typesetting  
>> mode before he
>> can actually use TeXworks?
> Yes, this is a problem.
>> 1. Implement an 'auto' mode that tries to guess.
> Good idea.
>> 2. Make pdflatex the default. I'm afraid many won't agree, but here  
>> is the
>> argument: people who come to TeX without knowing the about the  
>> various engine
>> and formats generally want to use LaTeX. People who come to TeX for  
>> XeTeX
>> generally *know* what XeTeX is and why they want it, and I guess  
>> the same is
>> true for context users.
> I'm not sure why they would want LaTeX if they don't know about it.   
> In addition, I think there are two other important issues here.
> 1. Fonts.  I don't think people will be happy to find out that they  
> have only a very few fonts to choose from (the computer modern  
> fonts) or that they have to jump through a bunch of hoops to add  
> more fonts, and even then can't use all the fonts they are  
> accustomed to on their system. (Somebody--maybe Robert Bringhurst-- 
> remarked that it's better to have a few high quality fonts and learn  
> how to use them to best effect; and I agree. But users are  
> accustomed to having lots and lots of fonts these days.)
> 2. Language issues.  All OS versions since Win98 and Mac OS X (2001)  
> turn out Unicode text.  (I don't know about Linux.)  Users are  
> accustomed to typing in their own language and/or switching easily  
> among languages.  I've never tried it, but I think that LaTeX will  
> not process Unicode well. Using LaTeX, people will have to find and  
> install older packages for Cyrillic, Hebrew, whatever, and the  
> keyboard probably won't work as expected.  Surely it's pointless to  
> ask beginners who don't use a western European language to give up  
> the convenience of Unicode that they are accustomed to if they have  
> a relatively new machine.
> Both of these items would suggest XeTeX as the default.  If we make  
> LaTeX the default, then we have to provide guidance about installing  
> fonts and using languages other than English, which is another  
> burden for TeXworks. With XeTeX, a very small amount of guidance  
> about fontspec will suffice for beginners.
> David
>> Manuel.

David, you are right.
If new documents are created based on properly designed templates, the  
font, language and engine issues both turn to secondary problems.
Newcomers should be guided when creating a new document based on the  
expected result.
They should be given the opportunity to choose their document format  
in a list of document samples,
each of them properly designed.
For example, a math article with pdflatex, a letter or a home journal  
with xelatex.
A math presentation with pdflatex, a text presentation with xelatex...
Not to speak about luatex;-)

Those sample documents should be part of TeXLive.


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