[NTG-context] Ideas for restructuring the ConTeXt garden?

Taco Hoekwater taco at elvenkind.com
Sun Mar 13 08:54:08 CET 2011

On 03/13/2011 12:35 AM, Henry House wrote:
> Procházka Lukáš wrote:
> [...]
>>> 5) how to better promote context to new/latex users?
>> For LaTeX incomers: it would be good to provide a sample setup (module?) which would make Ctx generated .pdf looking very closely to that been generated by LaTeX.
>> Now, if you see a .pdf document and you are familiar with LaTeX, you recognize immediately whether or not it was generated by LaTeX (Word's signature is also unmatchable).
>> If you create a first document with ConTeXt (moreover when migrating from LaTeX), you probably won't be satisfied with the default look (letters too big, heads not bold, spacing before/after heads too different from LaTeX's; and the LaTeX default document looks very "symphonic" in my opinion) (but also I can imagine that many Ctx defaults cannot be changed due to backward compatibility reasons).
>> The perfect feature of ConTeXt is that all these features may be systematically altered (often [almost] impossible in LaTeX) but you must search enough and study (and maybe ask the forum) to get the result which would fulfil your aesthetic requirements.
> I strongly agree that sample set-up code (ideally well-commented so that
> it also serves as a tutorial of sorts) to reproduce the style of LaTeX
> would be helpful. The appearance of LaTeX documents isn't perfect but it
> produces reasonably high-quality results suitable for complex technical
> documents right out of the box of the box without any tweaking, whereas
> ConTeXt requires (at least it did for me) some trouble to set it up for
> the first time.

First, let me say that I don't agree that the default LaTeX appearance
is high-quality at all. To me, it looks like crap, and IIRC Lamport
actually designed it 'ugly' with to encourage people to create
something better looking themselves. Of course most people don't bother
(which is typical and he could have seen that coming) but still...

The same applies to the default context setup: it is also too ugly
to be used for real world documents, and nevertheless many people leave
it as is.

This means that (for both LaTeX and ConTeXt) the defaults cannot be
changed any more because of portability problems in existing documents.

But nothing is to stop anybody from creating a different class file
for LaTeX or a different module/environment for ConTeXt that produces
something 'better'.

So, if the intent is to lure people away from LaTeX, why not create
a set of environment files to mimic LaTeX's article/book/report
and upload them to the garden?

Best wishes,

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