[NTG-context] Mini-survey: What do you do with ConTeXt?

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Fri Nov 4 21:47:17 CET 2005


On Nov 4, 2005, at 15:49, Taco Hoekwater wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> For the next issue of the ntg's Maps journal, Hans and I believe
> it would be nice to publish the collected responses to this simple
> question:
>
>   What do you do with ConTeXT?

I have decided not too long ago to move my book-project form LaTeX to 
ConTeXt (it was my second try, the first one I stopped because there 
were too many problems). Reason: I dislike how LaTeX output generally 
looks (though I found memoir to be pretty good) and after reading the 
documentation I liked how ConTeXt looked as an interface.

I think those ideas are generally still correct, but using ConTeXt is 
often a wrestling match for me. The documentation is a disaster if you 
want to find out how things work other than the few actual examples 
given. Going to the source to find out what options there are is not 
optimal. E.g. can somebody tell mem how to prevent \textline to take up 
so much vertical space (and yes, I tried all the settings)? Secondly, 
writing is less conceptual than LaTeX and more visually oriented. That 
is a logical consequence of its philosophy and its layout power, but I 
really miss a more conceptual approach (as in a LaTeX "letter" class or 
"book" class) on top of ConTeXt. Lately, I have also become 
disappointed by the non-local nature of things I ran into (e.g. having 
a float in an endnote and having the float end up in the vincinity of 
the endnote marker in the main text, not in the endnote chapter), which 
are things I completely did not expect to happen. I get the feeling 
that ConTeXt is running into TeX-as-a-programming-environment 
limitations.

I stick to ConTeXt for my book project, but I keep everything else 
still in LaTeX (e.g. letters). I still think ConTeXt has the potential 
to outclass LaTeX completely, but it is not there yet. For ordinary 
non-TeXhackers like me, it is not a smooth ride.

G



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