George V. Reilly

Dramaturgy: LaTeX

Bloomsday reading

I have a long-standing fas­ci­na­tion with typography. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, I became quite adept with TeX and LaTeX, the well-known scientific type­set­ting system. When I was at ICPC, I think I read the TeXbook cover to cov­er—twice. I became the TeX ad­min­is­tra­tor for the CS department while I was at Brown.

And then I moved to Seattle to work for Microsoft and entered the world of Windows, and I left TeX behind for more than 15 years.

I wrote the other day that I prepared the Bloomsday scripts in XML for several years, using XSLT to generate HTML. I used to send the HTML to the readers, but everyone’s browser paginated dif­fer­ent­ly when printing, which led to confusion at rehearsals. So I started giving them PDFs: problem solved except for the person who needed a large-print version.

Last year, I prepared the script with re­Struc­tured­Text. Normally, I use reST to generate HTML, but reST can also generate LaTeX. I decided to use rst2latex to take advantage of LaTeX’s superior type­set­ting.

I wasn’t happy with the results. The script looked like a crappy technical paper from the ‘90s, thanks to the tired Computer Modern layout. CM works well for math, less well for text, in my opinion.

The MacTeX extras included XeTeX, a modern variant of TeX that supports Unicode and OpenType fonts. I ex­per­i­ment­ed with using Hoefler to set the script. You can see the results above: it looks gorgeous.

More to come.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Annoy People: » « Dramaturgy: Vim