Watts (chipotle) wrote,

My normal "net routine" has become disturbed over the last few weeks, I've realized. I'm not keeping up with net comics, for instance--and I'm not keeping up with this journal, either.

This isn't to say I've had my life utterly consumed by work. I got a new, if fluffy, story written. I completely revamped one of the web sites I maintain, using Movable Type as a content management system. And I'm tentatively taking on a bigger revamping project, although I'll have to get a little farther with it before I talk about it much.

Beyond that there's the seemingly-eternal short story collection project, for which two old stories must be transcribed--after which I can work on writing a preface, finding somebody else to do a foreword if I can, trying to see if I can get a good artist to do a cover painting, and working on the book's typesetting. An essentially all-text book is a case where, even though tacit might disagree, a WYSIWYG layout program has no clear advantage over a good TeX-aware text editor. I've been doing an APA submission for the past few years--basically a small text-only 'zine. I started in Nota Bene for DOS, setting it up to have "one click" LaTeX output. Since then I've tried PageMaker 6.5, Gobe Productive 2.0 and 3.0, and InDesign 1.5, and I've always returned to the editor/LaTeX combination for the prosaic reason that it's always been the fastest approach. This claim tends to flabbergast DTP partisans, but on the same hardware, a text editor is always faster than a graphics-based program. And despite the APA's simple layout, there's a couple things I do which can't be easily replicated programatically in most DTP programs. Sometimes WYSIWYG is still trumped by YAFIYGI ("you asked for it, you got it").

On the other hand, InDesign has no clear disadvantage--it uses TeX's paragraph composition algorithm, which makes it the first WYSIWYG program that can typeset text as nicely as TeX can. (No one sane will argue that Quark isn't a better program for laying out graphically complex work, but in terms of typesetting capabilities rather than graphic design capabilities, TeX is the only computer program that rivals manually set type.) Since I've been typing the stories in Word, it'll be easier to import them to InDesign than to convert them to LaTeX markup. The process will be somewhat slower than TeXShop, but I'll be likely to be wanting to subtly fiddle with layout in a way I don't in the APA. And, of course, InDesign is much friendlier when it comes to using system fonts--LaTeX requires "packages" to assign system fonts to its internal font families, whereas InDesign just uses them the way any other GUI program would.

Which means I could get the Adobe Chaparral font for body text. Which is so not a free font. Which may be a good reason not to use InDesign, actually. Hmm.

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