[texhax] \begin{...}...\end{...} VS. its shorthands

Brian {Hamilton Kelly} B.Hamilton.Kelly at rmcs.cranfield.ac.uk
Thu May 29 12:58:30 CEST 2003

Robin Fairbairns wrote:
[quoting ky anh, but without attribution :-( ]
> > Using \begin{...}...\end{...} kills our time.
> in trivial amounts.  selecting a font "kills" a heck of a lot more.
> > Is there any best way to save the time?
> not reliably.  some environments can be abbreviated to their initial
> and final commands, but far too many won't work in that form for the
> shorthand to be worth trying.

Personally, I save the time by defining macros for my editor of choice such
that I can type in the name of a LaTeX environment and press a couple of
keys.  This then creates the \begin{...} and \end{...} pairing and moreover
inserts one extra space of indentation: I'm one of those that likes to see
the structure of the document, and my editor replicates such leading
whitespace on successive lines.

This is a trivial exercise with most sensible editors (under both DOS and
OS/2, I've been using SEDT as my "editor of choice" for something like 15 or
more years).

> of course, if you have read the sources of latex, and of any packages
> you are using, carefully enough, you will know which environment can
> be abbreviated and which can't.  

You wicked, wicked, man!

>                                  you plainly haven't done that, and i
> don't particularly recommend it as a way of saving time.

OTOH, it's a very good way to learn how to use both TeX and LaTeX.  (ISTR
that it was David Barron who said that "far too many people are spending far
too much time trying to write programs, whereas they would learn much more
through READING some good programs".)  

Many of the original questioner's queries (ditto those of some other recent
posters) are actually quite trivial, provided one has some understanding of
HOW LaTeX works.

>                                                           (i've been
> at it since 1987...)

'Sfunny, I thought you were already a TeX hacker when I first started, which
was 3--4 years before that.

Brian {HK}

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