4.0043 TeX (162)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Mon, 14 May 90 17:39:48 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0043. Monday, 14 May 1990.

(1) Date: Sat, 12 May 90 00:10:51 PDT (95 lines)
From: gwp@hss.caltech.edu (G. W. Pigman III)
Subject: Re: 4.0035 TeX and LaTeX (56)

(2) Date: Sat, 12 May 90 12:25:43 -0400 (67 lines)
From: amsler@flash.bellcore.com (Robert A Amsler)
Subject: TeX, LaTeX, and Scribe

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Sat, 12 May 90 00:10:51 PDT
From: gwp@hss.caltech.edu (G. W. Pigman III)
Subject: Re: 4.0035 TeX and LaTeX (56)

Since I've had a hand in typesetting seven books with TeX (published or
to be published by Longmans, Oxford University Press, and the University
of California Press), I'd like to respond to Catherine Griffin's
reservations about the program. We agree with Don Knuth, the author of
TeX, on a crucial point: designing a book is a difficult task best left
to the professional. (Six of the books I mentioned were set to
specifications provided by the publisher; the seventh was designed by a
colleague who had already typeset one book, had once worked for a
publisher, and had founded and directed the Caltech Art Gallery.) In
fairness one should note that this difficulty is not peculiar to TeX; it
applies to all desktop publishing.

Catherine Griffin mentions three drawbacks: 1) unattractive fonts 2)
the "low level" of TeX 3) the difficulty of modifying LaTeX style
sheets. I can't speak to the third because I have never used LaTeX,
but I would like to say a few words about her first two points.

1) Attractiveness of fonts is a matter of taste. I myself find the
Computer Modern fonds attractive, and Computer Modern Roman, the basic
text font, is very similar to Times Roman, although lighter. I would
suggest that those interested in judging look at a book produced on a
phototypesetter (such as Knuth's own *The TeXbook*) rather than 300dpi
output from a LaserWriter or comparable printer. CM fonts look
significantly better at resolutions higher than 300dpi. Moreover, I
must disagree that it "is a very large undertaking" to use other fonts.
If one prefers Postscript fonts, the public domain dvips enables one to
use them without too much trouble. And it is fairly easy to use
Bitstream fonts (Times, Garamond, and many others) with TeX, although
one must buy them. Finally, there is a fine set of Greek fonts
(complete with all the accents) that complements CM.

2) Yes, TeX is "low level" and provides little help towards producing
a structured document, but there are a number of public domain macro
packages to help with such amenities as numbered footnotes or endnotes
or even complicated matters like the production of a critical
apparatus (I use the latter myself thanks to the good graces of
HUMANIST John Lavagnino of Brandeis). And writing macros for running
heads is not as formidable as Catherine Griffin implies. An example
might be useful; at least it will give the flavor of simple TeX
commands. To center left and right running heads with pagenumbers in
the outer margins on every page after the first, one could do
something like this:

\ifodd\pageno\headfont\hfil RIGHT HEADER\hfil\rm\folio
\else\rm\folio\headfont\hfil LEFT HEADER\hfil\fi\fi}

In English,

If this is the second or subsequent page
if the page number is odd (the recto)
center RIGHT HEADER in the desired font and
place the page number in Roman in the right margin
else (if the page number is even (the verso))
center LEFT HEADER in the desired font and
place the page number in Roman in the left margin
else (if this is the first page)
omit the running head (print a blank line).

(One would need another line to specify the first page number and the
font desired for the running head.)

If this code looks terrifying, then I dare say that TeX is not for
you, but if you can puzzle your way through it, you can probably learn
enough to typeset most books published in the humanities. Yes, you
will need someone who knows TeX to answer your questions, but isn't
that true of any wordprocessing program?

In closing, let me mention two advantages of TeX, one mentioned by
Catherine Griffin, one not. First, let me elaborate a little on her
comment, "TeX gives you wonderfully fine control over the white space
on a page, and this, I believe, is one of the crucial factors in
really good typesetting." TeX allows you to control (with very little
trouble) the looseness or tightness of lines (i.e., the amount of
space between words), and this usually makes it easy to avoid widows
and clubs or bad breaks in displayed quotations or to suppress almost
all hyphenation (even though TeX has an excellent hyphenation
algorithm). Furthermore, one of the real joys of TeX is the ability
to balance pages (i.e., to make recto and verso begin and end in
exactly the same place regardless of section headings, displayed
material, footnotes, etc.). It's easy to to request variable amounts
of space before and after headings, displays, or before footnotes,
since TeX doesn't determine the spacing until it has processed an
entire page. Second, since TeX produces device-independent output,
one can easily produce proofs on a LaserWriter and final copy on a
phototypesetter without making any changes to one's input file (in
fact, without even running TeX twice).

-Mac Pigman
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------79----
Date: Sat, 12 May 90 12:25:43 -0400
From: amsler@flash.bellcore.com (Robert A Amsler)
Subject: TeX, LaTeX, and Scribe

TeX was created to compensate for the difficulties Donald Knuth had
in getting his textbooks typeset the way he wanted. It offered
significant advances over previous typesetting languages in several
areas (mathematics (The American Mathematical Society endorsed TeX),
font design (Metafont allowed users to sculpt fonts--albeit according
to professional font designers only as `artificial' fonts), kerning,
and later auto-hyphenation) and in general gave the user control over
very delicate matters of appearance often ignored by other languages.
It's major problem was that it was too difficult for novices to
easily master. At the time, Scribe, created by Brian Reid, was a
language which provided very nice high-level control of the
typesetting task with possibilities for low-level intervention
provided the user were willing to become a hacker. LaTeX was
created, I believe by Leslie Lamport, to offer a high level interface
and commands for TeX. It worked quite well. The model which he used
was that of Scribe's command language. This model has also been used
by Symbolics for their limited typesetting of output on the Symbolics
LISP workstations and who knows where else.

As far as I'm aware, LaTeX can also run TeX code. The biggest problem
one faces in using these is that one can so customize one's typesetting,
adding one's own macros to do exactly what one wants, that in effect
one renders one's text into a program that requires its own subroutine
library to be `compiled' into print.

Mathematics typesetting has since advanced past TeX to special
packages such as Mathematica, that outperform TeX. Scribe has since
added a TeX-like mathematics typesetting capability.

Scribe is a commercial product available from Scribe Systems and quite
expensive. It does offer the best device-independence of any typesetting
system I know of, offering output ranging from screen-display to
Postscript, and with every other device inbetween supported at some
level. This means one can readily print a Scribe document on a
terminal, line printer, Imagen laser printer, or Postscript printer.
I use it at Bellcore to do color Postscript typesetting.

TeX was public-domain and thus quite a bit less expensive.
My general experience with typesetting languages is that:
(1) There is no GOOD way to typeset text. The process is inherently
 more complex than you want to be involved with and will force
 you to diddle with more things that you want to. In this regard
 it means that subjective statements about typesetting languages
 and their ease of use will abound. The devil you know can easily
 appear to be simplier than the devil you don't know, but what
 is actually being judged is familiarity in most cases.
(2) Higher-level typesetting is a nice goal, and best represented today
 in the form of SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) and its
 applications such as that of the AAP's markup language. Texts
 marked up with these tags can readily be translated downward into
 actual typesetting languages. But alas, they have to be translated
 in most cases. This is somewhat better than it sounds since having
 a Rosetta Stone is an advantage over not having one, but:
This means that you have to get into the ink and onto the print surface
at some point to actually make your document print out and the only way
to do that is to do it in a lower-level language.