The Joy of LaTeX

By LaTeX I don’t mean just latex, but LaTeX, the document typesetting system originally developed by Leslie Lamport.

Being unemployed means I write job applications quite a bit, and I’ve used Pages.app for it, but one day, which turned in to 2 days, I took the plunge and rewrote my Curriculum Vitae in LaTeX, both a Danish and an English version, using the absolutely excellent ModernCV class by Xavier Danaux. You can peek at the TeX sources in Danish and English if you wish.

A thing I noticed after that was that my writing process became far less “cluttered”, for lack of a better word. I just write in my favourite programming text editor, and it feels so good. No more thinking about how it looks all the time, because I can’t see that. It is the wonderful freedom of not using a WYSIWYG system. It makes for better writing, and then LaTeX does its magic and makes it pretty when you compile it.

LaTeX is a bona fide programming language, although a bit odd compared to modern languages — so many \commands — but in practice it feels more like a markup language like HTML, 99% of the time.

I use MacTeX on Mac, but for Unix + X.org based platforms I’d use TeX Live and proTeXt on Windows. Install what fits your platform, then go and read a bit and you’re flying.