talks: November 2008 Archives

LaTeX beamer markup = less suckage

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There are many bad things about latex - like not being able to use footnotes in tables, color verbatim text for syntax highlighting or center math expressions. One general problem is its verbosity when only a small subset of its functionality is needed. Especially when using the beamer class, the mental and textual overhead made writing latex too bothersome for me to be fun. A simple wiki-style markup would suffice for most tasks when creating slides, with extra functionality only needed for special slides like titles. Wouldn't it be nice to write

=Why tex needs to be replaced=
There are countless reasons:
* it's old
* I don't like it

which would become

\frametitle{Why tex needs to be replaced}
There are countless reasons:
\item it's old
\item I don't like it

I made a primitive LaTeX preprocessor in lisp that does just that. It handles slides, converts itemizations and includes and resizes graphics, while retaining all the nice features that make us use latex in the first place (i.e. the math mode). Things to improve include support for enumerations and flushright/centering and a more friendly shellscript. I will probably update it as I progress with the talk i'm currently preparing which will now be all the more awesome.

You can check out everything from svn:// or download it directly. With sbcl installed, just run to create an example pdf.