Yesterday I read the LaTeX2e-News of April, 2017. At first I tried it using a smart phone, then with a tablet. The news don’t appear as text on the project’s web site, there’s just a link. It has to be read as a PDF file, in US letter size (8,5 x 11 inch) format, non-tagged, twocolumn. If one is able to read it scrolling to left and right, one still needs to scroll far back above and to the right, at the end of a column. That’s laborious to me. And it’s just simple text with a few headings. It doesn’t contain any tables or figures or bulleted lists. No reason that it really needs LaTeX.
This month saw a new release of LaTeX2e. The following has been changed or added:
- In addition to the yyyy/mm/dd date format, LaTeX now accepts ISO 8601 format date strings in the date argument of \ProvidesPackage , \usepackage , etc. That simply means dash insted of slash. So, today can be 2017-04-17.
- The new TU encoding for specifying Unicode fonts with LuaTeX and XeTeX got extended support for the dot-under accent, \d.
- Verbatim environments now use a \language setting to prevent issues with fonts that were not loaded with hyphenation disabled via \hyphenchar=-1.
- \- now inserts the current font’s \hyphenchar instead of a simple -.
- LaTeX now supports a default document language parameter, that may be relevant to language packages such as babel.
- While LaTeX normalises the baseline spacing inside a \parbox already, it now resets \lineskiplimit in addition.
Regarding changes, the latexrelease package may be used to force the older behavior.
Karl Berry mentioned it on the TL mailing list: TL 2016 is frozen now, a final build has been made. The pretest of TL 2017 will start soon.
At the end of this month I would like to go to the BachoTeX. I planned to go with kith and kin. So with wife, two kids, the dog and a few things. I rented a Ford Tourneo 9 seat van. Now I got to know, that the rental car company Hertz prohibits to drive with the car in our neighbor country and EU member Poland. From the “Driver’s Guide“:
Die versuchte Einreise in gesperrte Länder führt zur fristlosen Kündigung des Mietvertrages, den Verlust der Haftungsbeschränkung und des Diebstahlschutzes sowie zur Belastung aller entstehenden Kosten sowie ggfs. zur Sicherstellung des Fahrzeuges durch die Grenzpolizei.
So confiscation, cancellation and costs. For Poland this is valid:
Verboten für Mercedes, BMW, Fahrzeuge der Premium Kategorie, SUV’s, Cabriolets und alle Transporter und LKWs.
Premium, Ford Tourneo? Well, I asked on the phone. they told me, except with a Ford Fiesta or equivalent I’m not allowed to drive to Poland.
At once the tour to Poland is uncertain.
Does anybody go to the TeX meeting in Poland, from or via Hamburg, with the option of a big car and easy travel with some halts? I happily take the fuel costs, if needed an appropriate part of rental costs. I would be happy about a quick info. My wife already looks at holiday cottages at the North sea and the Baltic Sea, since our vacation week is fixed. I still hope to go to the BachoTeX.
Zur Info, die deutschsprachigen Berichte notiere ich hier: http://texwelt.de/blog/category/dante/
At the DANTE meeting, Günter Partosch continued. His second topic was: headings.
Headings are for:
- Structuring and sectioning of texts
- Visual indication
There are various things that can be adjusted:
- Appearance such as font and decoration
- Distance before and after
The first look was at the base classes. They allow structuring by \chapter and \section etc. in various depth. There are basic commands in LaTeX that can be used for example for switching numbering off or on and to change how that looks.
He showed additional packages, such as:
- fncychap - offers seven chapter heading styles, rather decorative
- quotchap - decorative chapter headings with quotations or sayings
- sectsty - Changing appearance of headings including lines above and below
- titlesec - Alternative heading styles with complex interface
- varsects - simple changing of headings
In his presentation he showed output examples of those packages, such as for decorative chapter headings and various formatting such as indented, centered, block-like or embedded headings.
A table showed the packages versus the features mentioned above.
Finally he considered the customization features included in KOMA-Script. They go far beyond the capabilities of base classes. A variety of settings are possible. Basic properties, such as base font size, can be set via class options. There are commands for setting and changing of font or formatting of various headings (\setkomafont, \addtokomafont). Furthermore there are commands such as \RedeclareSectionCommand for (complex) customizing of distances before and after headings as well as indentation.
Ulrike Fischer followed with the final talk of today. Her topic was how to work with errors:
- Analyzing errors
- How to find help if one is stuck with an error
What are good tips that can be given?
- Better tackle errors immediately, instead of postponing until there are too many errors
- No nonstopmode
- Proceed step by step
- Test new things in a minimal example, such as a bibliography or an index, before it’s implemented in the progressed main document
- Read documentation and package manuals
- Backups, version control, test environment
Will be updated in the late evening…
The afternoon of the DANTE meeting day 1 starts.
After lunch in the canteen, Adelheid Grob explained and demonstrated new and interesting packages, for fun with LaTeX.
- Bewitched mathematics: the package halloweenmath replaces math symbols by witches and pumpkins and offers more of that kind.
- Images in the margin: the package randbild offers two environments for placing small pictures into the page margin.
- EAN and ISBN with LaTeX: the package ean13isbn offers an interface for printing EAN codes and ISBN numbers including bar codes.
- Smoking break: the package Zigaretten produces wrappers for cigarette boxes, to overprint the annoying warning messages by customizable text.
- Smileys: the package tikzsymbols offers smileys aka emojis and further graphic symbols, with parametrization for “emotion value” and adjustments for example of colors of smileys and of angles of stick men.
Another package coloremoji supports smileys as on Twitter or Whatsapp via small embedded images .
- Old German fonts: Fraktur, Gotik, Schwabach and Sütterlin are possible via packages such as yfonts, sueterlin, sueterl, suet14, schwell, wesu. Using XeTeX there are even more old German fonts directly usable. An open question from the audience: is there Fraktur for math? For example, it’s used for vectors.
Günter Bartsch made the next presentation. He talked about creating a prescribed page layout in a reasonable way. It’s sometimes not easy to fulfill requirements. KOMA-Script classes and additional packages such as geometry provide suitable tools.
- Statement of the problem: for example fixed page margins and line spacing
- Considered: common pages, not landscape and no title pages
- Definition of type area: imagined gray area on paper. Without prescribed margin values, it’s good to create a type area via dividing in a grid (9 or 12 parts) or golden ratio. The KOMA-Script manual contains very detailed information.
- Standard classes such as article, book or report, offer only a few options. LaTeX commands, such as \enlargethispage and \setlength, don’t make the life easy.
- The geometry package is widely used for typesetting with given page layout parameters such as margins. It can ensure reasonable settings by autocompleting values. There are some further packages, sometimes for specific use, such as fullpage, tocenter, zwpagelayout (layout, crop marks), and typearea. Packages such as layouts and layout display page layout parameters as text and graphically.
- lscape and pdflscape are packages for switching to landscape orientation.
- KOMA-Script classes (typearea) and memoir provide further interfaces.
Coffee break now!
Right now, from March 22 until March 24, the DESY in Zeuthen near Berlin hosts the meeting of the German speaking TeX users group DANTE.
I travelled yesterday evening with the train to Berlin and then to Zeuthen. The DESY is just a few minutes away from the train station. I stay in the ”Seehotel Zeuthen” right at the see. There was an informal gathering at 7pm in the “Ristorante Cafe Peperosa”. Due to my late arrival, and because I travelled in the morning from Triest/Italy to Hamburg before taking the train to Berlin, I did not went there.
The registration started at 8:30, at 9:00 Dr. Johannes Knapp started with an introduction about DESY, its history and current projects, from particle physics and colliders up to photon science.
Uwe Ziegenhagen then made a workshop about using LaTeX and Python together. He provided an introduction to the script language Python, to syntax basics such as strings, lists, dictionaries (key-value pairs) up to flow control and functions.
He considered both directions of integration:
- Generating LaTeX-Code by a Python program
- Using Python within a LaTeX document
He showed practical examples:
- Generating tables based on calculated data, output is LaTeX with booktabs
- Data processing with pandas
- Reading and writing CSV and Excel files
- Using the template engine jinja2
- Automated generation of donation receipts with pandas
All example codes and the presentation slides in German can be downloaded here: https://github.com/UweZiegenhagen/PythonAndLaTeX
Now it’s lunch break. More to see in the afternoon!
Good news for 2017!
Students, seniors and TeX friends from countries with modest economies can become TeX Users Group members for an annual rate of just $15 - for an electronic membership, early bird until March 31, 2017. This means full membership, so the TUGboat journal and TeX software are online available to you, instead of getting it on paper or DVD. Saves money and is good for our environment.
Join us, plant the flag, elect our president, visit our conferences! If you look for a way to support TeX, that’s a great one!
A regular early electronic membership is $45, hopefully still affordable. Non-electronic late bird regular membership stays the same as last year.
By joining now, you can directly be part of and support the TUG TeX activities. You know,
- Maintaining and developing the TeX Live distribution, that is also the base of MacTeX
- Yearly international TeX conferences
- The TUGboat journal
- Supporting projects, such as LaTeX3, CTAN, LuaTeX and MetaPost and font creation
Let me know what you think! I love comments here.
It’s all up to us. Want to join in 2017? Link: http://tug.org/join.html
Just to let you know, these days Packt Publishing sells all ebooks (not paper books) for just $5, until beginning of January. This includes my two LaTeX books:
- The LaTeX Cookbook
More than 90 hands-on recipes to easily cook a variety of LaTeX documents. Gallery of some examples: latex-cookbook.net. Download: Full set of example codes. (I planned to add more examples to the gallery, also new ones) Sample chapter.
- The LaTeX Beginner’s Guide
An introduction. As it was my first book, I did not have the power then to prevent that they used bitmap images instead of PDF images but enjoy anyway. It’s $5 now, so what.
The links lead you to the book page at Packt publishing with description and sample chapter.
I get 16% of the book sales, let me quickly calculate – $0.80 per ebook. So if a few LaTeX friends take this opportunity, the royalties will allow to give a hell of a party. Just to mention that: writing a book means often just doing it for fun, not for money.