[texhax] learning tex vs latex

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Wed Oct 28 14:09:00 CET 2009

TeX is what LaTeX2e and earlier versions are written in.

Quite often, if one gets beyond what can be done by just loading a  
package, one will need to program in TeX, and there are a number of  
parts of LaTeX where one has to use Plain TeX constructs 'cause LaTeX  
constructs are dis-allowed (the picture environment comes to mind).  
LaTeX offers a richer, more consistent programming environment, but  
the rules on when one needs to use Plain TeX constructs aren't clearly  
defined, and I've not been able to discern any consistency beyond when  
stuff stops working.

Using LaTeX allows one access to LaTeX packages and it's rare to have  
a problem which hasn't been anticipated and solved by a package.

I've done lots of books where all that I had to do to match the  
designer's book format was load the appropriate packages and set their  
options correctly.

If one uses Plain TeX one has to ``roll one's own''.

Here's an excellent post by David Kastrup which discusses this in a  
wider context:



William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications
Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow.

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