Spent the morning looking at LaTeX layout and I have learned a few things:

1) There's a reason everyone uses the same templates like book or memoir: they do an awful lot of the heavy lifting for you.

2) There's more than one way to do things, and many of them have subtle knock-on effects that you won't notice until it's too late.

3) Boy howdy this thing is powerfully addicting. Even something as simple as \lipsum[1-5] in memoir with a little bit of formatting just looks so damn good.

@craigmaloney

The other thing to realize is that LaTeX is the semantic abstraction over TeX. If you want super fine grained control, TeX is the control language.

But using TeX is so very difficult that LaTeX is what people fall on.

But I think the next question is, as beautiful as TeX and LaTeX are... do we need them anymore? Do we need paper-oriented documents to be our primary system?

Why not electronic documents?

@emacsen But (La)TeX does of course produce wonderful electronic documents.

We need more TeX/LaTeX, not less. (I'm not saying (La)TeX is always the right solution, mind you, but it is in many cases.)

@craigmaloney

@emacsomancer @craigmaloney

I tried really hard to get LaTeX to produce nice documents that would end up as HTML/ePub and it was so hard to do that it seemed earlier to start with something else (org-mode, markdown, etc.) and then produce two versions.

@emacsen And I definitely agree that one of the places that TeX isn't the best tool is when you want HTML/ePubs as an output. Here it really makes sense to use org-mode or markdown or the like as the "source" and export from there.

@craigmaloney

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@emacsomancer @emacsen I've used pandoc in the past for this, but unfortunately pandoc doesn't handle some of the layout that I want to have in the document (and inserting TeX commands in Pandoc can have not-so-great results. Yes, it works, but not always).

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@craigmaloney I tried for a few years to use something else as a source format for TeX (esp. org-mode). If your end goal is really TeX (or PDF), I think it's better to just use TeX directly.

@emacsen

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