Sunday, August 01, 2004

Reporting on the state of reports....

The world of free software is so rich and diverse, that many things get missed. I was website hopping, and I came across a TeX website, and felt that I should comment on it here, since a couple of my loyal readers write reports for college classes. TeX is a professional grade typesetting system, which is different in concept from a word processor. Say you're writing a report for a class. You would write the report as a plain text file with a special markup language called TeX, just like HTML is a markup language. Then you process the document through the compiler, and with various target outputs, among them being the Adobe PDF format.

A nifty addition to this is that many people who write manuals or other documentation can write a single tex file and run it through different processing engines for different outputs, all from a single source file. For example, say you write a book and want it published as a pdf and have the content formatted for a website. There is no need to reprocess the text, and rewrite the markup. The existing tools do all these things for you.

There's a program called Kile which runs on any system running KDE, which operates on text files the same way a plain text html editor would work.

On Windows, there's MikTeX, which is a sizable download, unless you have broadband. I highly recommend this system to anyone who does a lot of writing and wants highly professional, consistent output.

Also, there's LyX, which aims to be a word-processor like interface which outputs TeX files.

1 Comments:

At 11:35 PM, Blogger The Chainik Hocker said...

Nifty!

 

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