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

Henning Hraban Ramm texml at fiee.net
Mon Jan 4 17:13:44 CET 2021

> Am 04.01.2021 um 14:18 schrieb Ulrike Fischer <news3 at nililand.de>:
> Am Sun, 3 Jan 2021 23:59:14 +0100 schrieb Henning Hraban Ramm:
>> In LaTeX most problems are solved with “use this or that package”,
> You only need to follow a few days the questions e.g. on tex.sx to
> see that this is not true: Answers about LaTeX are much more varied
> than a simple "use this package" and often include new definitions
> or background explanations.

Yes, sorry, that was overly simplified.

Yes, there are many knowledgeable and helpful LaTeX users who throughly explain their suggestions.

But when I’m looking for LaTeX solutions, it very often breaks down to using the one or other package (with a few options or configurations provided by them).

>> without the need to understand the commands and settings
>> involved,
> The fact that there are so many packages extending LaTeX actually
> means that there is *more* need to understand commands and settings
> than in a system like context where "most problems are solved with
> \setupsomething[somekey=somevalue]". 
> (But it also means that there are many people, who understand enough
> of the innards to write, to document and to explain packages,
> commands and settings.)

Yes, but it’s in the concept of LaTeX that there is a gap between users and package writers.

I prefer to copy a few settings (and adapt them to my needs) over using a package that might do also other things or is incompatible with some other packages that I might need.

>> 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.  

The discouragement sometimes sounds a bit harsh ;) – not your problem.

There are a few old ConTeXt users that use too much basic ("plain") TeX for my taste, esp. if there are better ways to solve their problems with simple ConTeXt commands.

All the best,

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