[XeTeX] xetex vs. pages

Scott Murman smurman at segosha.net
Thu Nov 17 16:28:18 CET 2005

>> - 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.
> Well...LaTeX (don't know about ConTeXt) float placement is very  
> seamless, once you've sorted out the caveats. You can insert images  
> into paragraphs (wee wrapfig or picinpar), but it's not quite as  
> easy as dragging the image where you want in a GUI.

latex float placement is far from seamless.  wrapfig barely makes it  
possible, even if you're an expert.  pages supports more than simply  
drag/drop, it's dynamic so you get on-the-fly formatting of your  
paragraphs to float placement.  the downside of this is the paragraph  
formatting is crude, as pointed out by Herb.  since latex is compiled  
it can throw more resources at the formatting problem, but it's not  
clear to me that as performance increases we can't have the same in  
GUI apps.  i'm pretty sure my quad-G5 at work could handle the new  
micro-formatting on-the-fly.

>> - 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.
> You can quite easily copy/paste snippets of the PDF in TeXShop, et  
> al. Anything too pages specific won't transfer that easily between  
> documents, with the probably exception of other iLife app(s).

cropping pdf from the output really isn't useful.  you can drop data  
from your spreadsheet into pages and have a formatted table.  you can  
copy this table to keynote for presentation.  and you can run the  
process in reverse.  this is powerful.  latex only lets you see a  
single representation of the data, while integrated applications let  
you manipulate both the data and present it in multiple formats  
depending upon context.


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