[texhax] Choosing TeX um ... stuff

Peter Davis pfd at pfdstudio.com
Wed Nov 17 22:23:25 CET 2010

I've been on the periphery of TeX for years, as a casual user of LaTeX and
also as an implementer of publishing software.  However, I'm afraid I
haven't kept in as close touch as I'd like, and now I find myself trying to
absorb a lot in a short time.  I'm trying to choose what software to use in
building an XML->TeX workflow.

I'd appreciate any help with the following questions:

   1. True or False: TeX can be categorized along three orthogonal axes:
      1. by format (plain TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, others?)
      2. by implementation (web2c, pdfTeX/pdfLaTeX, LuaTeX, others?)
      3. by distribution (MikTeX, TeXLive, MacTeX, others?)

      2. True or False: plain TeX and LaTeX(2e) are warhorses ... been
   around for decades, quirks well known, lots of documentation, etc.

   3. True or False: ConTeXt is newer, with a lot of built-in features, but
   still changing quite a bit from build to build.

Other comments welcome vis. picking which software to use.  One point is
that since the actual TeX input files will be generated programmatically,
readability or ease-of-coding is not a factor.  I was going to use plain
TeX, but it seems a lot of features like placing text boxes and graphics
anywhere, using system fonts, etc. are more available for LaTeX and ConTeXt.

Thank you for any comments!

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