[texhax] are the gui's catching up ?

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Mon May 8 14:54:04 CEST 2006

On May 7, 2006, at 2:15 AM, debian wrote:

> This is perhaps a naive question and _not_ flame bait.  I love  
> latex dearly.
> Crystal ball gazing: are the gui-word-type packages catching up with
> tex/latex ?

Bit by bit, insofar as it's possible, yes.

I never cease to be amused by how features I find invaluable in TeX/ 
LaTeX are down-played by graphic designers using Quark or InDesign  
_until_ they're available in Quark or InDesign, or how they rave  
about being able to do things in the latest version which were never  
before possible ('cept that I'd been doing them in TeX / LaTeX for  
well-nigh a decade, and others since its inception).

> Might all my learning effort currently become redundant
> in a few years time ?

No. InDesign will never have a built-in equation editor, Quark XPress  
will never allow contextual element placement based on calculations,  
doing things interactively and visually will never equal the speed  
and efficiency of setting up a computer system to do something once  
and then allowing it to do at least a first compleat pass w/o human  

I'm typesetting a journal right now, while it's done in Quark XPress  
it simply wouldn't be possible to do in the 48-hour turn-around time  
desired w/o a bunch of pre-processing WordBASIC macros and fancy  
search-replace, and it's still tight 'cause of Quark's crashing and  
the number of things which have to be done manually:

  - pull in graphics and size text frames to enclose graphics and  
captions and place them (This could be a bit more automatic if we had  
Emsoftware's Xtags)
  - switch between one and two column mode (FrameMaker could do this)
  - compose paragraphs nicely (InDesign would at least do this, using  
TeX's H&J algorithm)
  - check every hyphen in the document to see if it should be a  
hyphen, a non-breaking hyphen, and en-dash, an em-dash or a minus  
sign (an author using TeX would get this right --- to be fair  
there're one or two authors who at least place minus signs from  
Word's symbol palette)
  - break the monolithic Quark document into discrete chapter- 
sized .qxd files (each of which is ~150MB 'cause of Quark embedding  
graphic previews) --- LaTeX would allow me to process individual  
chapters using \includeonly to break them out.

I'm hoping to have this issue done early enough to work up the LaTeX  
macros to do one chapter in LaTeX to see if they notice the difference.


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications

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