2019-02-15 The LaTeX Curse

@gunnar was recently wondering about the title page of his LaTeX document. Was I able to help, since I use LaTeX?

No! LaTeX is hell! What mere mortals like I do is search for a document “class” that does 90% of what we want and then we learn to accept that those remaining 10% weren’t actually all that important. So, I like the Tufte books and back in 2013 I found the Tufte template on LaTeX Templates after @Halfjack recommended the site. It comes with a nice sample handout and a sample book, both as a Tex file and as a PDF file so you can see how everything is done. And all the other classes? Who knows! It’s hard. I’m sorry.

So basically they say LaTeX is good because you don’t fiddle with the layout. LaTeX does it for you. But then again, if you want to fiddle with the layout, the learning curve goes to a new level. If you’re starting out, don’t go there. I’ve been using LaTeX for over twenty years and I don’t go there.

A “beautiful” PDF can mean many things. The solution with Markdown and WeasyPrint that I’m using for Spellcasters project has the nice property of using CSS for many things. In that, it’s like a better HTML with PDF output. LaTeX on the other hand is for super nerds. The beauty is in the typesetting of formulas and the like. But the beauty of RPG tables is tables and graphics, and that’s not where LaTeX shines, in my not so humble opinion. RPG documents really have their own requirements. Which is why many end up with Text and Scribus. 😅​

And back in 2010 I decided that OpenOffice (now LibreOffice) was best. And so of course nearly ten years later, I’m still using LaTeX. 🤪

@PresGas reminded me of the rpg-module class for LaTeX which I had tried back in 2016. I didn’t really like the result. I also tried the much simpler latex-bx class by @phf and ended up not using it.

Anyway. LaTeX is a special hell for typo nerds. It’s so beautiful in all the details that often don’t matter. It’s super tricky to master unless all your requirements are met by some existing class. I go back and forth between tears of joy and desperation.

I liked the comment @emsenn left: “I relaxed so much the first time I heard you say this, because it made me accept that if I was wrong, at least I wasn’t alone in it.”

@Halfjack said: “I am so so sorry.” 😂



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