A few more thoughts and advices about LateX

— 1. Introduction —

In the page LateX and Equations I’ve already said some things about LateX and LateX in wordpress.com, but on this post I’ll just talk about a few more issues with LateX and why I think that the contributors of this blog should write their posts in LateX and then use Luca Trevisan’s script to convert the .tex file into .html.

As you can in the page LateX support you can easily insert equations into your post. For instance if you want to insert Pythagoras’ theorem you just type

$atex a^2+b^2=c^2$

With latex instead of atex the result that one gets is {a^2+b^2=c^2}. Notice that if you want to know what code was used to get one particular equation all that you have to do is to hover over the equation.

— 2. LateX —

I won’t bother you with the history of TeX and LateX. All you have to do is that if you want to produce a document with typographic quality right out of your computer LateX is the way to go.

For people that aren’t used to use a text editor in the style of LateX the learning curve might be a little steep, but I believe that if you’re not doing anything too fancy with it LateX can be as easy as using Microsoft type products. Besides if you think that you can learn Quantum Mechanics then you surely can learn how to use LaTeX in a rudimentary way. For this blog you surely won’t nothing very fancy. The only things that I use for blog posts is basically sections and other basic commands. Not much I know, but for me it helps in getting my posts with a clear organization and that makes the job of writing them easier and I like to think that it also makes the job of reading them easier.

A nice primer can be A Simplified Introduction to Latex or even The Not So Short Introduction to LateX.

In order for you to use LateX in your computer you’ll also need a distribution and a text editor. The distribution is what will make LateX work in your computer and the text editor is what you’ll use to write your .tex files

If you’re using Windows my advice is for you to use MikTeX, if you’re using Linux than you already have LateX installed in your computer and if you’re using Mac I can’t really help you, but I’ve heard some good things about MacTeX

As for editor I’ll only recommend Windows editors. I think that the best ones for people that are new to LateX are Texmaker and TeXnicCenter. I personally use Texmaker but maybe TexnicCenter is best for neophytes.

— 2.1. Latex to WordPress —

As was already said Luca Trevisan has created a wonderful script that converts a .tex file into an .html file. For me this solution is just perfect:

  1. I can write a blog post in LateX and that takes a lot less time and is more organized.
  2. Allows me to save my files in a format that is easily printable with a nice formatting.
  3. Writing long mathematical deductions is simplified and less error prone in a natural LateX environment than in wordpress.com editor.

So what you do is that you use your favourite text editor to write your .tex file then you go to your command line and type: python latex2wp.py myfilename.tex and voilà! You get an .html file that is ready to be copied and pasted into the wordpress.com text editor in html mode.

— 2.2. LateX seems to be overkill —

If you’re not ready to use LateX right now you can use the usual wordpress.com editor, but bear in mind that writing your posts will be harder and writing equations in particular will just be nerve wrecking since you’ll be writing a lot of long equations.

Anyway it is your call and to make the job a little easier on yourself I’d advice you to use the Online Latex Equation Editor

— 3. Some example files —

Here are the files that I usually use to write blog posts:

— 4. Final advice —

At one point you’ll have to use very long derivations on this blog, and my advice for you is that you shouldn’t use the begin{array} environment. You have a much better choice with the begin{aligned} environment whose syntax is very much alike with begin{array} but the end result isn’t buggy and looks a lot better.


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