3.359 report of TeX's death greatly exaggerated (41)

Tue, 15 Aug 89 21:57:26 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 359. Tuesday, 15 Aug 1989.

Date: Mon, 14 Aug 89 22:22:08 EDT
From: elli@wjh12.harvard.edu (Elli Mylonas)
Subject: Re: 3.352 twilight of TeX? (22)

I am not sure that DTP programs can really eclipse typesetting languages like
TeX quite yet. The most sophisticated of the DTP programs can be used
to produce very attractive layout, even layout that can be printed on a
Linotron, so that it can be used to produce book quality materials.
However, TeX and the other command-style systems often allow a macro
capability that may be used to name formatting groups, and thus
to change them globally later. One might respond that the ability to
make global changes on style and formatting is similar, but then how
do you tell the difference between the indented paragraph that is a
long quote and the indented paragraph that is an example, for example?
Another feature that is lacking in most DTP programs that i know of is
the header file. This is a file that contains formatting information
and macro definitions, that can be embedded at the top of several files.
Or even at the top of a file that then embeds the several files that make
up a document. I have not used TeX, although i am familiar with its
conventions, but i have used Waterloo Script and Waterloo GGN
GML extensively. What i learned is that *no* one who wants to be
efficient and productive uses this type of language in its raw form,
without formatting--not editing--macros. Also that there are still
a lot of features that i long for on the Mac, when i am preparing long
To conclude, i think what we all really want is the power and elegant
results of TeX combined with a friendly, late 20th century graphical
user interface. (Word of Warning...see what happened when Interleaf
Publisher tried to move their program to the Mac. Graphical interfaces
alone will not suffice, they have to be well thought out, too!!)