# [NTG-context] A not so short introduction to ConTeXt Mark IV

Hans Hagen j.hagen at xs4all.nl
Mon Jan 4 15:30:43 CET 2021

On 1/4/2021 2:18 PM, Ulrike Fischer wrote:

>> Of course it helps to understand basic TeX stuff – but you’re not
>> supposed to use (plain) TeX commands in LaTeX, while it is or was
>> much more usual in ConTeXt.
>
> Well we discourage the use of plain commands to avoid that new users
> trip over bewildering errors from stuff like "abc \hskip 2cm plus
> cde", but it is not forbidden to use them.
Hm, \hskip is not a plain command but a language primitive. And there's
nothing wrong with using primitives, assuming that one knows how they
work (and in this case that a \relax does wonders).

One of those 'persistent' wrong ideas about context is that it somehow
is kind of plain but decided to not waste time arguing that. There are
actually not that many commands in 'plain' anyway. Much of plain tex is
setting up math (and all macro packages support those symbolic names and
the basic math structures), some fonts (all macro package set up some
font system and maybe some aliases that make it easier for plain users),
but as soon as one uses latex or context or ... some different output
routine kicks in, table mechanisms show up, \item has a different
meaning, etc. (The early macro packages were kind of plain themselves:
demanding redefinition of internals and such.)

Hans

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