Writing in LaTeX
January 28, 2015
As part of my Calculus IV class, I’ve started working in LaTeX for publishing equations. My only exposure to it so far has been exams from my Calc III class, so I’m really starting with a blank slate. Though it’s definitely not code, LaTeX is a powerfully customizable markup system, and one that requires a lot of care to get right. A couple observations:
I’ve always been a fan of the slightly decorative, clean aesthetic that’s commonplace on the web nowadays. You know—sites that aren’t too gaudy, but also not barren. But LaTeX, similar to my professor’s website, adopts a much more spartan feel. I’ve found myself appreciating the simplicity of alignment, balance, and whitespace that LaTeX is so generous with—those components that often go overlooked in other mediums.
I really dove right into LaTeX. Instead of reading a formal guide, I’ve just started with tex.stackexchange.com and a wealth of examples online. As a result, I’m finding myself learning about the language by trial and error. The ‘$’ symbol, for example, makes a world of difference in the way your text compiles.
In writing solution guides, it’s important to display only what’s necessary. If expressions can be eliminated without sacrificing understanding, they should be. I’ve had to analyze my work for redundancy, and make assumptions about what can be understood and what can’t be.
There’s something to be said for the fact that LaTeX always looks the same. It’s refreshing, and exactly what I should be emphasizing. Rather than decoration, I’m drawn to focus on organization and content.
ShareLaTeX is the best way to do it. Period.
Just a few thoughts—LaTeX is fun, efficient, and something I’m going to be seeing a lot of.