[XeTeX] xetex vs. pages

Scott Murman smurman at segosha.net
Wed Nov 16 17:27:26 CET 2005

I'd like to get opinions on xetex and pages, as both seem to fit in  
the same niche (unicode, mac-specific).   here's some thoughts just  
to get things started.  i maybe misunderstanding some things, but  
that's kinda the point of asking questions, neh?  i'm looking  
slightly forward w/ pages here, assuming that iwork '06 has  
improvements, some some of spreadsheet, etc.

- xetex is compiled, pages is interpreted on-the-fly (c vs. perl).

- xetex source files can easily be ported to other platforms by  
disabling the xetex-specific commands. currently, pages must port  
through a 3rd-party app, such as MS Word, however may be able to  
retain the unicode fonts (never tried myself).  pages->rtf->latex is  
possible, but frightening.

- pages is gui-driven, and allows easy placement of floats, etc., but  
still lacks some basic functionality such as tracking references,  
indexes, etc.   xetex inherits a long legacy of latex code, but will  
never be a mature page layout tool.

- math in xetex is flexible and efficient for users familiar with the  
syntax.  this should continue into the future as unicode, XML, and  
math evolve.  equations in pages are currently painful at best, and  
may never move beyond the inefficient gui-driven, drag-drop interface  
that seems standard (framemaker, word, etc.)

- pages is built directly into the os x framework, so moving data  
between email, spreadsheet, report will be seamless.  xetex for the  
most part is stand-alone.


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