[texhax] syllabus (fwd)

Robert Hunt reh10 at cam.ac.uk
Fri Oct 1 18:48:04 CEST 2004

Philip TAYLOR wrote:
> What LaTeX does is to provide such commands /without/ requiring
> that you define them for yourself.  Unfortunately it does so
> in such a way that if you /like/ how it typesets headings,
> then it's fine; if you /dislike/ how it typesets them, then
> it can be pretty tedious (and difficult) to work out how to
> make them look good to you.
> [snip]
> TeX v. LaTeX is basically horses for courses; if you like LaTeX,
> and like the results it produces, then use it; if you dislike LaTeX,
> or dislike the results it produces, then define your own high-level
> markup and use that instead.  But don't /ever/ write something like

Like you and others, I have programmed extensively in TeX (indeed, I
found one of the more obscure bugs in TeX, and possibly the most obscure
bug of all in the TeXbook). The difficulty with your suggestion for most
people (that anyone who doesn't like LaTeX output should use TeX instead
and write macros) is that even fairly basic stuff - like an automatic
equation-numbering and cross-referencing macro - that is essential for
elementary scientific writing is rather difficult.

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