[OS X TeX] R, paradigm to bring into the LaTeX world?
gerhardt at math.uni-heidelberg.de
Sun Oct 22 16:06:59 CEST 2006
Latex requires a certain amount of learning, but given the results I
consider the user's efforts minimal. To have special commands or
formatting instructions available when I need them, I have a small
collection of templates containing these commands and I assume that
anyone else has a similar collection.
Nobody is forced to use Latex, and as far as I am concerned these
occasional cravings for a Latex light are unfounded, and I would hope
that they will come to end for good.
On Oct 22, 2006, at 15:43, Denis Chabot wrote:
> Many posts have been written lately about LaTeX Lite and in general
> more user-friendly LaTeX. I am in the unfortunate position of
> having to use Word most of the time because of the necessity to
> often, almost daily, exchange documents with colleagues, all using
> Word. Already I am a (lucky) black sheep, being the only Mac user
> in the group. This sometimes creates problems with illustrations
> (despite all the Microsoft bragging about 100% compatibility
> between Word on both platforms).
> Often here and in the LaTeX sites in general, it is assumed WYSIWYG
> users do not write structured documents and switching to LaTeX will
> bring them into this mode of writing. It is not true of me: as soon
> as Word offered styles, I started using them for every document.
> When the outlining mode came about, I often switched to this as
> well. Yet I'd gladly to without Word if it was not for my
> colleagues because Word has become way too huge, complex, and buggy
> (the optimum version has been 5, around 1990, if I remember well).
> How often do I add or move a figure in my list of figures
> (typically on a separate page at the end of a document in a
> scientific article), and half of references to figures in my
> document are changed from "(Figure X)" to (Figure X Relationship
> between length and mass of...)", i.e. Word starts adding the legend
> to the label and figure number. Fixing this requires killing the
> reference and inserting it again. If you want figures in the
> document instead of at the end, you are constantly fighting Word as
> to where it will end (with no final answer, Microsoft knows better
> than you and moves them around from day to day).
> Thus I like that in LaTeX things work as expected. On the negative
> side, especially when you may be forced not to use it for a few
> months, it is difficult to remember what some of the switches
> you've used do from one time to the next. And although I can write
> and let LaTex do the formatting (bliss), other times I spend hours
> trying to figure out how to obtain a relatively minor change which
> would have been easily done in a WYSIWYG environment (styles are
> easily edited). Especially if this requires getting a new package
> Maybe I should have tried LyX a bit longer, but I did not quite
> like its interface, and I like the idea of more "universality" of
> straight LaTeX files (I just wish more journals in my field, marine
> biology, accepted LaTeX manuscripts).
> But I can think of one way LaTeX would be a bit more user friendly.
> I don't think it is up to the people on this Mac list to make it
> happen, it would have to be a more generic effort. I'd like LaTeX
> (and especially LaTeX frontends like TeXShop to behave more like
> the open source R statistical system does.
> A basic installation of R (there is one for each of the main OS)
> includes the "base" R and a good selection of the most often used/
> requested packages. But you can easily view the available packages
> and install them. Especially if you use a frontend (in my case a
> Mac R.app): a menu allows you to look at which packages you have
> installed on your computer (and at the same time view the
> documentation for them). Another one allows you to go to CRAN and
> view which packages are available, either as binary for your own
> platform or as source which the frontend will compile for you). You
> can see if you have the latest version. You can update if you
> don't, or install any number of new packages you want. You can
> select if you want them installed for all users or for your account
> only. This makes it quite a bit easier to see what's available that
> might solve a particular need.
> I do not know if the lack of this way of doing things in LaTeX is
> due to a greater difficulty in execution because of differences
> between LaTeX and R, or simply because it has not occurred to
> people it would be "a good thing". More likely I suppose, since
> nobody is paid, it is the result of lack of time or synergy between
> volunteers to implement such a system.
> But it seems to me it would be a good move. Anybody else has found
> this a good idea in R? Do you think it would also be nice in LaTeX?
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