[texhax] Can Tex do that?

Robin Fairbairns Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk
Sun Feb 8 16:17:30 CET 2004

> I am a FrameMaker user that is now switching to Mac OSX. Unfortunately
> Adobe does not support FrameMaker on OS X and is suggesting we move to
> InDesign. However good, InDesign cannot do many FrameMaker functions
> such as footnotes, autoflow of text and paragraphs, or math
> symbols. InDesign is a poor document processor for our needs.

gosh.  i knew it was imperfect, but you make it sound worse still...

> I would like to try Tex, but thought it best to ask if Tex can be used
> to create reasonably complicated color product brochures. The goal
> would be to produce brochures, newsletters, business proposals, and
> also "publish" data from a database that looks as if came from a
> high-end layout package such as Quark Express or  something similar.
> Can Tex be easily used for these type of functions?

tex _can_ be used for these sorts of things -- tex can be used for
pretty much anything -- but whether you'ld _want_ to use it as part of a
commercial workflow for such highly graphical stuff is more doubtful.

the problem, it seems to me, is that most of tex's capabilities in this
area rely on its programmability (tex, per se, doesn't recognise
graphics at all, though it provides slots into which one might program
graphics capabilities).  since you need to ask your question at all,
you'll not be an expert tex programmer, which in turn means there will
be a long learning curve for you before you get to write anything
complicated for yourself.  (i speak from experience: i've enormous
experience of programming in the large, yet it's taken me more than a
decade to achieve my present capability of doing "most" tex-based things

there are semi-graphical front ends to tex; i don't know if any of them
even approach what you need.  i doubt it, but others may know better,
and will need to chip in to put me in my place.


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