[texhax] Trying to find the /right/ piece of LaTeX documentation.

Robin Fairbairns Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk
Thu Jul 8 23:46:16 CEST 2004

> The LaTeX manual (dead-tree book by Leslie Lamport) is good for
> telling you how to use LaTeX and what all the pieces do, but isn't so
> great for helping you figure out how to do new things.  But it's good
> to have around for hacking.  You can use it to make sure that new
> classes do more or less what they're supposed to do.

i don't actually rate lamport much, any more.  latex out-of-the-box is
so rigid and so difficult to customise that lamport really doesn't

if you've enough money (and don't care too much about trees) the latex
companion is a splendid buy.

> To learn how to hack code to do new things, the TeXbook (by Knuth)
> helps a lot, and so do all the laTeX packages that come with enough
> documentation that you can figure out how they do what they do.
> That's where I've learned what little I know.  

well, yes.  but i don't reckon it for beginners.  (it's what i started
with, but i'm convinced of the worth of higher-level things now.)

> About your figures, people here have written about the memoir class,
> which I keep meaning to look into, but haven't.  Anyway, my cursory
> look makes me think it might be better at what you're after with the
> figures.

memoir is _designed_ for flexibility.  it comes with a good manual,
and everyone i know who's tried it, now swears by it.  (except me, but
i don't write serious documents any more...)

the one big problem seems to me to be the simple size of the manual.
it's all jolly good stuff, but i find it daunting.  all my faq stuff
about it is either direct from the author, or from occasional dabbling
in the manual.

i write odd bits of documentation, and i use the koma-script classes.
they two are far more customisable than the latex originals, but my
feeling is that they're not quite as flexible as memoir (and the
english translation of the manual is not as good as the german
original; whatever, not in the memoir league).  lovely design, though.


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