[tex-live] So far.....expensive failure

Zdenek Wagner zdenek.wagner at gmail.com
Sat Feb 16 15:53:04 CET 2013

2013/2/16 Denis Bitouzé <dbitouze at wanadoo.fr>:
> Le samedi 16/02/13 à 11h50,
> Philip TAYLOR <P.Taylor at Rhul.Ac.Uk> a écrit :
>> OK, I suppose that in some ways this just reflect the difference
>> between the average LaTeX user and the average Plain TeX user.
> IMHO, average LaTeX user and the average Plain TeX user are not at the
> same level of computer knowledge and facility: an average LaTeX user
> could use its computer only few hours a week, and use LaTeX only few
> hours a month.
The big difference is that a lot of LaTeX packages already do exist.
It is possible to make a panel with icons representing macros and
environments from the package. It is not the case of plain TeX. I can
make icons for mathematical symbols but not for enumeration,
itemization etc because plain TeX users are supposed to write their
own macros.

I think that the LaTeX community mostly contains people who are not
computer specialists. They deal with other topics (my job is
chemistry) but they like typography and they need a tool that will
enable them to prepare quickly nice document without the need to learn
a lot at the very beginning. I remember how happy I was that after 5
minutes of reading the first short description of LaTeX I was able to
write a sleleton of a book with chapters, section,. subsections, cross
references and table of contents. I am not a Windows user but many
years ago I saw WinShell. It contained structured panels, each of them
could be individually hidden. Thus a newbie in math typesetting could
press a summation symbol and \sum_{}^{} apeared ad the cursor
position. After learning such symbols the user may hide this panel and
type \sum directly. WinShell also contained LaTeX help, thsu the user
was not required to look into books. This helps newbies to learn
faster. When learning I did not have such tools and probably I would
not need them but I like the idea. And what is the best, if a user
does not wish these panels, he or she can hide them all and get large
area for the editor window.

>> The former (and I mean no disrespect by what follows) expect that
>> someone (Leslie Lamport, The LaTeX2e/3 team, or one of the countless
>> package writers) will have written a package that does what they
>> need, and all they want to do is to use that package. Thus if they
>> are offered a menu of packages, and for each package a menu of
>> commands, then the thought process is much simplified and they
>> can focus solely on writing the text.
> Any IDE could provide menu of packages, and for each package a menu of
> commands, but it provides facilities for most common commands and lets
> you add macros and environments menu entries for your personal ones or
> the ones of your favourite packages.
> --
> Denis

Zdeněk Wagner

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