[texhax] It's good to exercise

Torsten Wagner torsten.wagner at fh-aachen.de
Wed Jun 13 15:44:37 CEST 2007

Hi James,

interesting question and I guess you will not find a definitive 
solution. First of all I believe, that it strongly depends on your 

Personally, I like to have exercises or better an example embedded 
within the text. This helps me to directly follow what was written just 
a few lines above on a practical example. Others may like to read first 
the complete chapter and sit down and try to follow the exercises 

I guess it also highly depends on the topic of your book. If the theory 
is rather complex I guess I like to get an example within the 
description to make the theory clearly understandable for me by 
following the inline-exercise. Other may don't like to be disturbed by 
exercises since they first like to get an overview before they start to 
play around with it.

However, you might combine both methods, just add very short and rather 
simple exercises which helps to understand the theory behind it within 
the text and add additional exercise at the end of the chapter.

Anyhow, I prefer a clear separation between text and example. Many new 
books follow this rule by adding a horizontal line before and after a 
exercise, adding a kind of pictogram beside the exercise, or drawing a 
box around the exercise. This help readers of both groups to find there 
reading style.

There might be different point of views for engineering, programming, 
maths, physics etc. topics. I like more the engineering / programming 
point-of-view. I really think it hardly depends on the topic and on the 

Just my two cents...


James Smith schrieb:
> Hi all,
> I'm writing chapters of my book now that are thick with exercises. I
> want to place them directly where they are relevant but they don't look
> right. A glance at my maths books suggests this is never really done,
> although I'm sure I've come across this approach in programming books
> before, especially the lighter ones, which unfortunately mine is not.
> I'm going to rewrite the first chapter that uses exercises now, and
> place the exercises at the end of the chapter, and see how it reads. I
> think this goes somewhat against the flow, but it seems the norm.
> Does anyone have any strong opinions on this one way or the other? If
> leaving exercises in situ is okay, I think I need to find a way of
> numbering them that does not seem to clash with the definitions and
> later on, the theorems. I could find a way to number the exercies with
> the same schema used for these but I don't know how to do this and I'm
> as yet undecided on the numbering scheme for definitions, theorems and
> the like anyway. The default numbering scheme seems fine for papers, but
> overly elaborate for a book.
> Any opinions on this would be greatly appreciated.
> Kind regards,
> James
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