Where communities thrive


  • Join over 1.5M+ people
  • Join over 100K+ communities
  • Free without limits
  • Create your own community
People
Repo info
Activity
  • Jul 11 2015 18:57
    johannesbottcher commented #3
  • Jul 11 2015 17:23
    vermiculus commented #3
  • Jul 11 2015 16:26
    johannesbottcher commented #3
  • Jul 11 2015 16:06
    vermiculus commented #2
  • Jul 11 2015 16:06
    vermiculus opened #3
Sean Allred
@vermiculus
So, what should a template be? What should an example be? How do these things differ?
I have my own thoughts on this, but I'd like to hear others' points of view, first :)
Paul Gessler
@pdgessler
Whoa, this is cool! :smile:
Paul Gessler
@pdgessler
To be sure, there are blurred lines here, and the terms are often used more-or-less interchangeably out there. But generally when I think template I think of something like a form letter, poster, or CV, where the custom styling is a large part of the code, and the content adjusted by the user is a relatively small portion.
For examples, I think of a short sample file that users can build on, which is more commonly used when the content written/added by the user forms a larger part of the source code. Consider the "sample theses" often distributed with thesis/dissertation classes, such as my own for mugsthesis.
Sean Allred
@vermiculus
@pdgessler Yeah, it's pretty neat :) I don't like it as much as SE chat to be honest, but the GitHub integration is super convenient. (It also has an IRC interface, which is nice.)
And everything you said there is pretty spot-on with my opinions, too. Templates are things you work with and examples are things you work fromi.e., you can incorporate an example into your existing document, but you can't very well do that with a template. You can take an example from a template though and apply it somewhere else.
It's along these lines I think (this repo at least) should go. I was thinking earlier this evening about the standard format I was going for: latex/{pkg,cls}/{title}/{title}.tex
Sean Allred
@vermiculus

There's really nothing in the way of latex/_templates/{topic}/{template}/{template}.tex. I still think the root examples should be a focus. I think this is something missing on the internet today, most closely approximated with the TikZ-specific http://www.TeXample.net. With packages being updated/superseded 'all the time' (I use that phrase a bit broadly), templates are hard to maintain since they incorporate so many different aspects.

Examples, on the other hand, are more granular and (intuitively) easier to maintain. As Vel pointed out on Clemens' blog (Vel maintains LaTeXTemplates.com), vetting a template is quite an effort. The smaller that contribution becomes, though, the easier it is to review.

Not to mention the PR process of GitHub is perfect for this :)

I can hardly say my thesis is perfect these days, though :)
Sean Allred
@vermiculus

For those just joining…

There's been a lot of discussion recently about the number of templates out there that are proliferating 'bad code'. I don't want to get into a whole lot of philosophy on what 'bad code' means, but I think we've all seen 'model' LaTeX documents that make us wonder who would willingly use such an infernal tool. These 'model' documents are provided online in the form of templates or passed down from professor/teacher/mentor to student, carrying twenty or more years of accumulated code in the preamble.

The first question, to be fair, is whether or not this really is a bad thing. I would like to discuss that here, but not too much. It's an observed fact that such templates intimidate newcomers to LaTeX – newcomers who don't have the knowledge to discern whether what they're seeing is the norm for LaTeX documents. When users are accustomed to seeing seeing dragons in their document, it's not surprising that the public perception of LaTeX changes suffers for it.

The second question is how to best move forward. The chatroom you are in right now is linked to http://www.github.com/vermiculus/texample, a project that was started over a year ago because I noticed this growing trend. (It was about the time online compilers were becoming pervasive – a good thing in and of itself, but the proliferation of bad code is due at least in part to this advancement and the increased ease of use.) The project slowed to a crawl soon after as my own thesis drew near, but it seems the day is ripe to take a look at it again.

James Allen
@jpallen
I'm on of the co-founders of ShareLaTeX, and I think this is a great initiative. Most of the templates we host are given to us by users, and haven't been written by us. You're right that there is a lot of low quality, bad practice stuff in there. It's still useful, but doesn't help with promoting good standards.
I've always thought that it would be great if we could have a standard set of macros for e.g. a thesis, a paper, a letter, etc and then there would be one template for each showing how to use these standard macros, and the format would be controlled by different classes (as LaTeX should be). I've spoken to the folks at Overleaf about this a few times, but it's never really gone anywhere due to lack of time and it not being a priority.
However, I think that we (us, Overleaf and latextemplates.org) are in a position to make something happen here since I'd guess that together we're the 3 biggest sources of templates. What would be required would essentially be an agreement on some best-practice way of putting together these templates, and then an effort to convert the existing templates to this best practice way. It sounds like you're tackling the former here (coming up with best practices?) which is great! I think there's still a huge amount of effort in getting a large body of templates out there using it though.
johannesbottcher
@johannesbottcher
Yet another place where this specific topic is discussed and i have to say, i don't like that. We have to try to keep this in one place i think. If we cannot agree on this simple matter, how will there be an agreement on templates and best practice? To be honest, i would have waited to reach out to the template providers till after Darmstadt.
What happens, if this room has reached its user limit?
I have to say, i am very happy and thankful that Vel, Overleaf and ShareLaTeX want to join the discussion and help to improve the overall situation.
johannesbottcher
@johannesbottcher
Question to all: Should a template have a license, and if so, which? Should a template introduce itself as a template in a meta-comment? When does a template stops being a template and getting a personal document? google lists thousands of files stating: % This is a simple template for a LaTeX document using the "article" class. where the user simply did not remove that comment. I guess we all agree, that there aren't so many templates.
Sean Allred
@vermiculus

@johannesbottcher I don't like the fragmentation either, but as I noted on Twitter, the existing options were undesirable (in my opinion):

  • Clemens runs a fantastic blog, but the forum infrastructure he uses is lacking in usability (sorry!)
  • SE chat is great from a usability perspective, but puts a very restrictive cap on message length. As far as I know, it's also impossible to use higher elements of markdown.

Gitter chat does not have a user cap for public repositories and this room in particular has the advantage of being linked to a presentation-agnostic source of TeX examples, etc.

Clemens is noting on Twitter:
I'll point out that there is only one topic here (not too broad, I think) and most Gitter rooms I'm in are hardly synchronous chat.
Clemens Niederberger
@cgnieder
It's easier here than on twitter: I find a chat not very useful for a discussion in terms of a) structured discussion topics b) finding topics again. (I hate it to search TeX.sx chat for a certain message I know is in there somewhere)
Sean Allred
@vermiculus
@cgnieder That's where the integration with GitHub issues comes in handy, e.g. #1
Clemens Niederberger
@cgnieder
There is only one topic with a lot of subtopics already
Sean Allred
@vermiculus
@cgnieder What are the subtopics? Most of the conversation is meta so far.
This message was deleted
Clemens Niederberger
@cgnieder
As you say: most. there already are some practical suggestions which are another thread to discuss than what e.g. best practices might be or @johannesbottcher question above about a licence (yet another thread). I find it hard to follow the different questions already!