Monday, June 15, 2009

Having fun with LaTeX

LaTeX - Pronounced Lay-tec ( as in tech ) as in don't pronounce the X like X-Ray but rather as a soft c as in tech.

Ok so now we have the way to say it under control, I thought I might describe it a little. LaTeX is a document mark-up language based on Tex. ( just look this stuff up on Wikipedia cos I am too lazy tonight to starting collecting references and formatting them correctly and worrying about how the document is structured etc... ) Its all so boring - Enter LaTeX to save the day.

On Fedora you can download the LaTeX plugin for Gedit and start editing your next book, thesis, report or article. Basically it provides a mark-up language not unlike that provided by MediaWiki. It lends itself nicely to multiple document type conversions as the content formatting is described rather than embedded.

LaTeX takes this one step further by handling all your references inside a separate file compiled by the companion application called Bibtex. The Gedit plug-in will actually prompt you for all the reference fields then when you cite a reference in your document, LaTeX will format the bibliography correctly according so some kind of standard.

It's been a while since I was in tertiary education but my good friend wrote his thesis with it and he actually has a PhD.

So there you go.