Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments
NOTE: use Perl; is on undef hiatus. You can read content, but you can't post it. More info will be forthcoming forthcomingly.

All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
 Full
 Abbreviated
 Hidden
More | Login | Reply
Loading... please wait.
  • I prefer using something like DocBook or LaTeX for making presentation-quality printable documents.

    From what I can tell, TeX is exactly what I want for just about everything I could ever possibly deal with. The problem is that it seems to have a rather tough learning curve -- especially since what I want to do with it isn't the typical case of writing up scientific papers. I mainly want to do multilingual stuff, mostly Latin-script with unusual accents. But when last I said "Alright, I'm learning TeX t

    • It's not remotely helpful to you unless you're planning to buy a new computer, but I've had absolutely no problems with TeXShop [uoregon.edu] (Mac OS X only) in combination with its associated TeXLive-teTeX.

      LaTeX is definitely one of those things which seems blindingly obvious only once you understand it.

      • LaTeX is definitely one of those things which seems blindingly obvious only once you understand it.

        Yes, I've been warned away from LaTeX for this reason and others -- notably that it's based on preprocessing and therefore is prone to reporting an error on line 123 of the TeX which corresponds to god-knows-what line of your real LaTeX input.

        The other complaint I heard is that le grand esprit behind LaTeX (Lamport?) is a "design fascist", and that the templates are inflexible, so that you end up having

        • That sounds a little unkind to me. I've only ever used LaTeX for moderately simple documents, but I've never had serious difficulty locating an error.

          Of course you have to learn TeX (and probably Metafont) if you want fine control over every aspect of your document's appearance. That's more or less the point of LaTeX: you describe the logical structure of your document, rather than describing exactly how to set it. Personally I find the results very appealing, but presumably not everybody agrees.

          The really wonderful thing is that you almost never have to do anything yourself, because somebody has almost certainly done it before. CTAN [ctan.org] was the original Comprehensive Archive Network, after all! It took me only a matter of minutes to find a solution [google.com] to your problem about dictionary-style running heads.

          • you describe the logical structure of your document, rather than describing exactly how to set it.
            If that's the intent of using LaTeX, then why not just use XML for the authoring, and map to a suitable back-end: (La)TeX, XSL-FO, SVG(?), (X)HTML or even RTF?

            LaTeX is a huge improvement over TeX, in that it helps focus on substance over style. But it's not 1993 anymore, and there are other ways to focus on substance.

            • why not just use XML for the authoring, and map to a suitable back-end
              Are you referring to DocBook, or are there other systems which also work as you describe?
              • Are you referring to DocBook, or are there other systems which also work as you describe?

                DocBook is a reasonable XML format for writing documentation; it's been in use for over a decade and has benefitted from lots of thinking about logical document descriptions. There is also reasonable support for converting DocBook into common output formats (HTML, RTF, PDF, etc.), but that suffers from the same problem as (La)TeX -- the tools only begin to make sense once you warp your mind to their expectation ho