[tex-eplain] Misc questions (probably FAQs)

D. Michael McFarland dmmcf@uiuc.edu
04 Jul 2001 09:55:37 -0500

John Culleton <john@wexfordpress.net> writes:

> On Tuesday 03 July 2001 19:43, you wrote:
> >         * 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.

That's what I was afraid of.

> >         * 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.

The only advantage I've found to working with PDF figures is size;
some of the EPS files I've generated lately have been ridiculously
large.  I might be able to create smaller EPS files, but this seems
like reinventing the wheel with PDF around.

> >         * 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.

You make a good point here.  I'll have to think about what I expect to
need to do.

> 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 separately.

I've spent more time and effort than I like to think about trying to
generate documents for both paper and the web from common input files.
I've used SGML (DocBook and otherwise), jade and jadetex, LaTeX2HTML,
my own Perl scripts, etc., etc.  And I must say the gurus I've
bothered about these tools have been very kind and patient.  But I've
come to despair of creating paper _and_ web docs with math _and_
graphics.  I'm now willing to scale back on the web side, offering PS
or PDF files for downloading (which is how I came to be considering
eplain again).

> >         * "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.

I won't willingly give up more or less automatic equation referencing,
because I never find 'em all when making such changes manually.  But
this is a minor issue; I have the code somewhere.

> 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.

Expect?  No.  But I can hope someone who knows plain better than I do
has gathered some macros I might use as a starting point.  There is
precedent. :)

Thanks for your response.  It's good to know I'm not the only person
left in the world who sometimes favors the simpler approach.  There's
no doubt that philosophically I'm an [e]plain kind of guy.  Whether I
stick with LaTeX will depend upon whether I think I have the time and
skill to build the capabilities I need on top of eplain.