Monday, 22 September 2008

Feedback on `Writing Scientific Documents Using LaTeX'

Since I submitted my article Writing Scientific Documents Using LaTeX to CTAN, I've had several emails offering comments, suggestions and improvements. I plan on taking all of these into account for the next edition, which should be available sometime soon. Meanwhile, I thought I'd just post a little about some of the suggestions here.

The single most common suggestion was that I replace the use of $$ ... $$ to delimit displayed mathematics with the \[ ... \] form. The dollar-variant is apparently deprecated, and the newer square bracket style preferred. The reason for this, as given in http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/info/l2tabu/, is that the $$ form is a plain TeX command, and should be avoided in LaTeX due to inconsistencies. Check the l2tabu document for more details.

Another frequent comment was that the eqnarray environment is bad, and should always be replaced by the align or similar, from the amsmath package. I originally thought I'd leave a discussion of eqnarray in there for reference, but now it seems better to remove it entirely.

Other comments related to minor corrections and requests for additional explanation in some sections, expanded coverage of BibTeX and more details on table design.

As I said above, I plan to incorporate all of these suggestions into the 5th Edition of the article.

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