[racket] Integrating scribble and LaTeX

From: Norman Gray (norman at astro.gla.ac.uk)
Date: Fri Jun 24 04:41:46 EDT 2011


On 2011 Jun 24, at 00:28, Matthias Felleisen wrote:

> On Jun 23, 2011, at 6:46 PM, Eli Barzilay wrote:
>> ... and an impenetrable lazy-like langugae that works via textual expansions can easily lead to severe hair loss. 
> Man, that explains it! And I bet TeX is even worse than latex. 

In principle it's the same, but in practice TeX is less infuriating, oddly.

That's partly because (plain) TeX tends to be used nowadays by people who know what they're getting into, for 'simpler' documents which, if they have funky infrastructure, keep it document-local. Or, put another way, TeX effectively encourages per-document DSLs.

Mostly, though, it's because LaTeX tries very hard to be usable, to encapsulate where it can, and to present a sane interface to people who want to think of writing a document as writing a document, rather than as solving a macro-expansion puzzle.  Although the LaTeX authors do very well, they're ultimately hamstrung by the fundamentally different model of the underlying language.

LaTeX3 (due early 21st century) should be a bit better.  Should be.

Early exposure to TeX means that I have no interest in sudoku, and laugh in the face of languages like brainfuck.

It may entertain you to know that there is no obfuscated TeX contest; not after <http://www.tex.ac.uk/tex-archive/macros/plain/contrib/misc/xii.tex>.  If you can work out what that does without TeXing it, you win a major prize.

All the best,


Norman Gray  :  http://nxg.me.uk

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