To TeX or not To TeX ,Summary of responses.

Subject: To TeX or not To TeX ,Summary of responses.
From: Miren Carranza <carranza -at- CLI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 10:03:00 CDT

Thanks to all who responded to the "Tex or not to TeX" question (i.e.
what people in this list use for documents containing a lot of
mathematical stuff). I found the responses very interesting, in
particular the following observations:

"... You can also postscript a LaTex file easily" ,

"... WinWord 2.0 gives just amazing results!! I just
try WinWord 6.0 and it's even better!!"

and several arguing for Framemaker.

Here is the "meat" of the responses that I got :
(La)TeX, of course!
Anyway, for what it's worth, if you have a lot of Mathematical stuff, I'd go
for LaTeX (or TeX) or a wp that really is designed for it. Otherwise, you
could have a lot of grief getting it prepared and you may still be unhappy
with the way it looks.
FrameMaker, without a doubt. Most word processor/publishing packages now have
some sort of equation editor, but of the ones I've used, Frame is far superior.
However, I haven't used Tex for equations, only for simpler documents.
I am learning LaTex because the consensus among my professors is nothing does
mathematical equations better and I have not found anything else to be
quite as effective. You can also postscript a LaTex file easily - a plus
for me since we put a lot of our technical reports online.
We document engineering software here, and use
FrameMaker for both our more instructional docs,
and our "equation encrusted" theory sections.
I've used TeX, LaTeX and FrameMaker to write math-heavy documents. Of
the three, I like FrameMaker the best. Since it has a WYSIWYG
interface, I found it easier to use than TeX/LaTeX. However, I
believe TeX/LaTeX support some math notation that FrameMaker doesn't.
We used to use Math Type to do our equations and import them into our
FrameMaker documents. Math Type produced reasonable looking characters and
acceptable spacing and shielded us from the difficulties of using TeX or
LaTeX (I'm not familiar with the particulars but I'm told it was a hassle).
The new version of FrameMaker (4) includes a decent equation editor that
makes this task even easier. So, we no longer use Math Type.

Framemaker. I used TeX for several years and it took me twice
as long to produce a document as compared to now, including
math stuff.
I *hate* TeX! Remember: The proper pronunciation of "TeX"
has it rhyming with "blech."
I just finished my master's degree thesis in physics. I used WinWord
2.0a and it worked just great. Many people told me to use TeX but the learning
curve was just too steep for me. Anyway, WinWord 2.0 gives just amazing
results!! I just try WinWord 6.0 and it's even better!!
TeX and LaTeX are way too cumbersome (I've used both). I prefer to use
greek symbols from a greek font and draw the lines and boxes by hand. It's
simpler because I don't have to walk away from tools that use every day and
pick up some special purpose things that I have to relearn each time I use

I used to use TeX much more frequently, but since I got my hands on a
computer with real graphical display capabilities, I've never looked back
with anything other than relief. I think TeX and LaTeX a perfect, if all
you have to work with is a text terminal, or even a graphics terminal
hanging off a mainframe. But they seem primitive by comparison to Quark or
FrameMaker. I think it's a case of progress marching past them.

Just remembered that the science word processor was
called ChiWriter. I have no idea if it's still available, but it may be
worth trying to get hold of a demo copy.

Another package which Engineering secretarial staff used for technical
papers was VuWriter. I believe that it came out of the University of
Manchester, U.K., but I wouldn't swear to it. Again, it was a word
processor, and I found it quite fiddly when I had to try it out briefly, but
it was the sort of thing that gained real devotion from its users.

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