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LaTeX, Lout, ConTeXt

LaTeX has better quality type setting than lout, by a lot, and it’s great if all you wanna do is use templates that some other sucker had already done for you. If you wanna do any real layout work of your own, LaTeX is a brick wall.

Lout is easier to understand and use but very limited in what it can do.

There’s also ConTeXt which had all the powers of TeX just like LaTeX, looks gorgeous, and is easier to make your own stuff in. I can’t understand why LaTeX gets so much love.

I’ve used all three. A lot. And I prefer ConTeXt by a mile. But, everytime I use it I end up frustrated with how difficult it is to find documentation and trouble shoot, I wanna switch to a good typesetting engine based on XML+CSS. I’ve got hope for them catching up on microtypography etc.

I use Pandoc as a preprocessor when writing ConTeXt. Pandoc supports inline TeX and ConTeXt code and custom templates. It’s a great too for making common things (like paragraphs and plain text) trivial and fancier things (like custom macros) possible. It was a stroke of genius on Gruber’s part to design a markup language around the idea of “inline anything fancy instead of trying to generate it”.