Wednesday, 9 December 2009

EuroGraphics 2010

I'm writing a paper for Eurographics 2010

- something like: 'Towards an academic praxis for domed virtual environments' - Slub and Wrongheaded get a mention, forming part of this praxis.

Anyway - they need full ACM formatting, and the templates are all in Latex. They provided instruction for converting from various types of text.

I don't really get on with OpenOffice, just feels a bit bloated to me, so I use AbiWord. I got to a point in the paper, where It wouldn't let me past in a block of text from another paper - this other block happened to have a quote in it, which itself had a quote. Everytime I pasted the block, Abiword would crash. OK, tried another machine, same. OK, found a bug report about it, compiled myself another version, same. OK, let's use OpenOffice, same! Things were getting really weird, I managed to get the document into Google Docs, and that was OK - but Google docs doesn't feel sustainable for my PhD.

So today I did what I do abut every 18 months, and went to have a look at the Latex world. I was wondering if there were any new GUIs that would get the job done. I found a thread where people were discussing Lyx, Kile, Emacs etc - the usual suspects. Then right at the end of the thread a guy suggested the latex plugin for Gedit. I installed it, and I'm a happy guy now.

I'd been thinking that programmers have much better text processing tools than authors - I was even thinking about writing my PhD in python - just to get the mark-up colouring, then just have a uber routine that calls all the chapter, and paragraph methods...

But this seems to be similar to that but better. I spent a couple of hours making sure I could get my docs into this ACM format. Learnt half a dozen Latex commands, so I can quote and section text, and I'm away. Bibliographies are a doddle! After wrangling with all these templates classes, font definitions, styles supplied by ACM. Their approach was for you to use the \include command to to bring your text into their document structure. I've worked out that you can do the opposite. Write your Latex document, then have the first line include all their stuff, really clean.