[NTG-context] Recapitulating

Mojca Miklavec mojca.miklavec.lists at gmail.com
Fri Aug 25 01:34:21 CEST 2006

On 8/24/06, Pepe Barbe wrote:
> After jumping through hoops, with some help I managed to get XeTeX
> running and using TTF fonts directly with pdfTeX.
> But before I go any further I would like to know what is your opinion
> in using one or the other. When researching a bit on XeTeX I read
> there were several caveates vs. using pdfTeX with LaTeX.
> Is this the same? In ConTeXt. What can I expect to work and what not?
> If TTF can be used with pdfTeX (with some effort) what is the
> advantage of using XeTeX with ConTeXt?

In contrast to LaTeX where many packages are specifically written for
pdfTeX and for pdfTeX only (or dvips and dvips only) and not
maintained any more, so you can't use them at all (unless/until
someone writes a new XeTeX-specific package, but it's still very
unlikely that one could use PSTricks in the near future for example).

ConTeXt should be much more transparent to the user in the sense that
in most cases you don't really have to care whether you compile a
document with pdfTeX or XeTeX (you don't or at least shouldn't need to
change your documents at all apart from some font definitions).

For me the major drawback until today was that I wasn't able to
include figure (now I can do that).

Apart from that the only thing that comes to my mind is the usage of
(math) fonts in general. XeTeX has not been around for such a long
time as pdfTeX, so if you want to set up your own font for math or
whatever, you might need slightly more patience. (Latin Modern hasn't
been set up yet to work in the same was as it does in pdfTeX for
example.) And if you want to use the old TeX fonts, you might come
accross some problems with accented letters (XeTeX doesn't know that a
certain font is ec-encoded) ... etc.

But well ... if you managed to get your favorite fonts working in
pdfTeX and if you don't need Vietnamese, Arabic or other exotic
letters, scripts or fonts, you don't really need XeTeX. pdfTeX will be
considerably imroved pretty soon as well.

To conclude it in two sentences: concentrate on content instead. You
would have to think twice if you would have to decide between LaTeX
and ConTeXt. The difference between documents in pdfTeX and XeTeX is
only a matter of a couple of lines in setup, "nothing more".


More information about the ntg-context mailing list