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From the Editor: In this issue

Lance Carnes

In this issue

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In past issues authors have written about making slide presentations with LaTeX packages: HA-prosper [Miller], and beamer [Mertz, Slough]. In this issue Thomas A. Schmitz shows how to create a presentation with ConTeXt. He provides several presentation examples in both source and PDF that you can try (and admire).

Jan Hlavacek describes the Ipe graphics editor, which he uses to create images for including in LaTeX documents. It's a nicely-designed multi-platform (Windows, Linux, Mac) tool that I'm sure you will want to try — several of the article's reviewers commented that they will be trying it soon.

Many of you reading The PracTeX Journal have found yourself in the same position as Stephen J. Eglen — your colleagues or students have asked you to give an introductory class on the use of LaTeX. Stephen presents his class teaching materials along with an account of his classroom experience. How does his experience match with yours?

The next paper deals with a one-week course on LaTeX, given in India by D. V. L. K. D. P. Venugopal. This course, complete with a quiz, was presented several times to large classes. Mr. Venugopal has made his teaching slides available, and describes some variations in the class format.

Is LaTeX really that good at creating documents, and easy to use? Andy Roberts wrote an article on LaTeX for an online magazine, OSNews, which we are reprinting here with permission of the author and OSNews. He describes LaTeX and some reasons why you might want to use it instead of Word or other formatting systems. When I approached Andy with the idea of reprinting the article in The PracTeX Journal he suggested we also include some of the OSNews reader comments, which we have done. After reading the article and comments let us know what you think.

David Walden's Travels in TeX Land column talks about writing books with LaTeX and some productivity tricks he has picked up. (Dave will be guest-editing the next PracTeX Journal issue.) Ask Nelly answers some questions about the pdfTeX program, the engine under the hood of most all current TeX systems, and also helps with some LaTeX problems that may occur when dealing with publishers. And finally, for those who like puzzles and challenges, Distractions offers some Sudoku puzzles with letters instead of numbers. You can also read about the winners of last issue's font contests!

PracTeX Journal readers provided insightful feedback. As you read the articles and columns please use the response links to send comments. If you use a technique from an article or column, be sure to contact the author and report how it worked for you. The PracTeX Journal is still evolving and your feedback will help us as we strive to improve it.

Next Issue

Editorial board member Dave Walden will serve as guest editor for the next issue. As indicated by the subject of his column in the current issue, Dave is particularly interested in methods of improving writing and publishing productivity by using TeX and friends (beyond the benefit of TeX and friends for doing beautiful typesetting). He would especially appreciate people submitting papers on this subject. Productivity benefits might include (a) methods of easily and repeatedly changing the format of text, (b) TeX/LaTeX as a standard for communication, or (c) TeX et al. as basis for easy reuse of text. People may also have ideas for how to better organize all their files, maintain an up-to-date distribution, and other techniques that may make use of TeX and friends more productive to use. Of course, Dave will welcome papers for the next issue on any other subject appropriate to TPJ's beginning and intermediate level readers.

If you would like to contribute an article or technical note on productivity or any aspect of LaTeX, TeX, or ConTeXt, please send an article outline to the editors.

Curious how the PracTeX Journal works? Visit the PracTeX Journal wiki. Feel free to log in and suggest an article topic.


The Editorial Board and I want to thank the authors, columnists, and Ask Nelly answerers for their excellent pieces which make this journal possible. We also want to thank those who worked behind the scenes:

Reviewers and copy editors: Jon Breitenbucher, David Elliott, Peter Flom, Jenny Levine, Adam Lindsay, Steve Peter, Tarcisio Praciano-Pereira, Yuri Robbers, Will Robertson, and Dave Walden.

Production editors: Yuri Robbers, Will Robertson.

See also other key people who make this publication possible.

And finally, be sure to attend Practical TeX 2006, a workshop and conference being held this summer at Rutgers University in New Jersey. You'll meet other PracTeX Journal readers there, and learn first-hand about using LaTeX, TeX, and ConTeXt.

Lance Carnes

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