[texhax] help with programming LaTeX

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Fri Nov 24 16:15:42 CET 2006

On Nov 22, 2006, at 11:49 PM, fbe2 wrote:

> I need some tutorial or some book on programming LaTeX. When you  
> google
> 'Programming Latex' you get books on *using* Latex, which I don't  
> need.
> I need to know the nuts and bolts of things like how to write a  
> package.
> But none of the books really go into this in depth. (why is that?).

This comes up fairly regularly.

The short answer is LaTeX is itself developed in Plain TeX, so Plain  
TeX tutorials such as _TeX for the Impatient_ ( http://www.tug.org/ 
ftp/tex/impatient/book.pdf ) or Victor Eijkhout's _TeX by Topic_  
( http://www.eijkhout.net/tbt/ ).

The longer answer is LaTeX has itself developed a programming style /  
methodology which is-as-yet only partially documented. There's some  
information here:


esp. http://www.latex-project.org/guides/clsguide.pdf

A typeset version of LaTeX's source2e.ltx is quite the tome, and I've  
often wondered what the short list of things one would need to read /  
know / understand before being able to read it would be.  One might  
suggest using CTAN as a primer, but often expediency triumphs good  
programming practice there, so arguably there needs to be some  
filtering on that in choosing didactic materials.


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications

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