[tex-eplain] Misc questions (probably FAQs)

John Culleton john@wexfordpress.net
Wed, 4 Jul 2001 09:10:43 -0400

On Tuesday 03 July 2001 19:43, you wrote:
> Dear List Members,
>         * The status of amstex
Don't know. When all the gurus swung over to LaTeX etc. it appears that 
upgrading of plain TeX packages was halted.
>         * Inclusion of PDF graphics (I gather epsf.tex is the best way
>           to include EPS)
Never tried to use pdf files as graphics. I use epsf.tex and then compress 
the whole document to pdf as needed.
>         * Use of natbib with eplain
Again don't know. My experience with the various bibliography packages is 
that they are overused. You can hard code the references and build the 
reference list by hand with less effort than all the setup issues with the 
bib packages. I recently assisted with a journal that used bibtex and bibunit 
(sp?) packages. The journal had two articles and  two separate bibliography 
files. the first article used all ten or so articles in its bib fiile and the 
second used about 85 out of 103. Bottom line, everything had been specially 
built for the articles in question and new bib files will undoubtedly be 
built for the next set of articles.  Oh yes, the bib style in use is slightly 
wrong and wil have to be rebuilt from scratch. IMHO it is easier just to code 
the entries and move on.
>         * Table macros and rules
No eplain facility that I know of. The eplain manual suggests two other 
ruled.tex and TXSruled.tex.

>         * Use of non-CMR PS fonts (e.g., the equivalent of pslatex)
There are other ways to get at ps fonts if that is required.

>         * Hyperlinks in PDF output (from pdftex)
Eplain is a printing package, like the original TeX. Again I am old fashioned 
about this. The requirements of the printed page are enough different from the
requirements of an online  document that I prefer to deal with them 

>         * "Subequation" numbering (e.g., (1), (2a), (2b), (3))
Eplain doesn't address this. But again I take the K. I. S. S. approach. I 
prefer to just use display math and place the equation number with \rput from
\pstricks. True, one does not get semi-automatic equation referencing. When 
you change the numbering you have to renumber all the references. But this is 
a small price to pay for greater freedom, greater control  and less coding.

>         * Emacs modes friendly to eplain
I am another Vi/Vim user, since before there was a TeX. Again the greater 
bulk and complexity of Emacs doesn't pay off for me. But that is mostly  just 
old habit talking. 


Bottom line, if you like to touch the wires together by hand plain/eplain is 
the way to go. If you expect a package to be written ahead of time for each 
and every possible situation then stick to LaTeX and its derivatives. The 
philosophy is just different. 

BTW some things, like multiple indexes, are better developed in eplain than 
in LaTeX.  And I like having just two manuals to look at --- eplain and 
pstricks --- instaead of chasing down the documentation of 100 different 
packages. Your mileage may differ of course.

John Culleton