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LaTeX3 News July 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News - LaTeX
Written by Stefan Kottwitz   
Sunday, 29 July 2012 10:51

The LaTeX3 News Issue 8 has been released today. Some of the topics are support for floating point calculations and regular expressions.

  • Extended  floating point support: Thanks to Bruno Le Floch, who has been re-writing the  floating point module, floating point calculations can be computed far more  flexibly and efficiently than before. Now they work in an "expandable" manner. While you could do such calculations using Lua in LuaTeX, it's now also possible with pdfLaTeX and XeLaTeX.
  • Regular expressions: Bruno has written a complete regular expression engine. That's very valuable for search & replace jobs and for text manipulation in general. While regexps are well supported by standard tools on Linux/Unix systems, there's no such direct support in Windows - now you can use LaTeX for this.
  • Separating internal and external code: LaTeX3 clearly separates public interfaces and private functions and variables. It's implemented by a naming convention, and some support mechanisms.
  • Naming convention for internals: While normal functions which are intended for external use begin just with the usual backslash, internal commands are prefixed with a double underscore, right after the backslash, in the expl3 language. As this might become inconvenient, l3docstrip adds LaTeX3 extensions to the DocStrip program, introducing a "shorthand" for internal package prefixes: @@ would be expanded to the function prefix when the .sty file is extracted. So function names are shorter, thus easier to type. Furthermore, the code source clearly shows which commands are intended to be used externally.


avatar Jesus
Ugh! I did my thesis in Word, too, and it was hbirroly suited for the job. I ended up having to manually assemble it from several print jobs, including overprinting two pages because that was the only way I could figure out to get a rotated figure and caption without also rotating the page number.More recently, I wrote a manual set in DocBook XML and loved it. If you are comfortable with HTML, you will be comfortable with DocBook XML. It took a bit to get used to the XSLT stylesheet language used for formatting, but the result was top quality. (Apparently it is possible to style DocBook with CSS, but I used the freely-availabl e DocBook XSLT stylesheets as my starting point.) Many times I wished I had had DocBook for my thesis!One drawback to DocBook is weak support for equations. DocBook documents can include any MathML you want, for rich support for equations, but the formatting engine has to support MathML. The one I was using did not.I've been a bit biased against TeX and LaTeX because I find the Computer Modern fonts ugly. I'm sure it's unfair, because I've probably read dozens of beautiful LaTeX documents done in attractive fonts and never knew it. It's the Computer Modern ones, though, that I can be certain were done in TeX
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