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Date:         Fri, 17 Dec 2004 16:10:03 -0500
Reply-To:     "Fehd, Ronald J. (PHPPO)" <RJF2@CDC.GOV>
Sender:       "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         "Fehd, Ronald J. (PHPPO)" <RJF2@CDC.GOV>
Subject:      OT: another LaTeX OpEd
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Another BBU author who knows I am using LaTeX to typeset my manuscript (most BBU authors use MS Word) asked me why I made that choice and what advantages LaTeX offers.

> I was a bit curious about LaTex, > but I am probably going to use Word. > I believe that SAS has to outsource processing of LaTex files,

that is correct

> and I'm not inclined to add that complication

that will happen after you turn in your final draft

> unless there is a good reason to do so.

good reason for you, or for them?

in my initial conversations w/my BBU handlers there was a big sigh of relief when I said that I could handle the corrections to the galley proofs, which is the first deliverable from the printer.

> [Someone I know used LaTeX in their book] > but it's full of equations. I won't have that issue.

no, but you will have the issue of printing the exact code, log and list you used and keeping them in sync.

> But tell me in 25 words or less why I might want to go with LaTex.

* never lose your document * process text file, get output, like SAS * supports Table of Contents, indexing, cross-referencing * macros for processing programs * never lose your document

I think points 1 and 5 are the most important. Even with back-ups, I have heard that when Word reaches its critial mass/mess -- around 50 pages, iirc -- and crashes, it obliterates the document being worked on.

"MyBook.doc!?! ... It was just here a minute ago!*!"

Which would you prefer: The Blue Screen of Death or the more simple and concise: "File not found"

I'm told that Word has a Master Document but there is a separate learning curve to use that, i.e. knowledge of Word does not transfer to use of MasterDoc.

you will want to Google: MS Word master document and get lucky: http://www.addbalance.com/word/masterdocuments.htm

MS Word is just that: a -word- processor. LaTeX is a -document- processing application; i.e.: paragraphs, pages, sections, chapters, etc. -- oh! did I almost forget program, log and list?! -- not to mention ease of cross-referencing other authors.

Donald Knuth was no slouch of a programmer.

LaTeX is as straight-forward on processing multiple chapters from a master document as a SAS program with %includes.

I don't know how you plan to test your programs but I get my SAS programs running and just %include the program, log and listing into the document, i.e.: I don't cut&paste. If I make changes to the SAS program then the next time I LaTeX the book, the latest version of the program, log and list are brought in.

that means that in the end I have a test suite of SAS programs which are the same as what is in the book.

I'll continue to urge you to use LaTeX. As a SAS programmer, you're familiar with processing a text file to get an output, which is exactly what you do with LaTeX.

If Dianne didn't make it clear in her earlier conversations with you I had about six years of typesetting experience back in the late 60s and early 70s. That included work in a print shop so I am familiar with the typesetting, copy-editing, paste-up, printing and book production issues.

The choice is yours and it would be a relatively simple process to convert any time in mid-stream. I don't make that statement lightly.

Ron Fehd the LaTeX maven CDC Atlanta GA USA RJF2 at cdc dot gov author of the award-winning* book

A SAS Companion, A Rhetoric of Writing for Reading and Reuse or Testing

* SAS-L vaporware: 2003, 2004, ... ;-)


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