A LaTeX future
I’ve been thinking for a while that it would be a good idea to start writing about what I’m doing related to my various LaTeX activities. Joseph Wright really provided the inspiration with his cleverly-named website.
Right now, I’m somewhat-actively working in two major areas of LaTeX development: LuaLaTeX and LaTeX3. LuaLaTeX has been the great work so far of Elie Roux, Khaled Hosny, and Manuel Pégourié-Gonnard, with my contributions being to update my fontspec package sufficiently for selecting fonts when using the LuaTeX engine. Fontspec was originally written, of course, for font selection using XeTeX.
The work I’ve been doing with the LaTeX3 project has been rather more speculative. While we’ve released now the expl3 bundle for high(er)-level LaTeX programming and Joseph Wright has done a fantastic effort rewriting and updating the main xpackages that have been released so far, I see the long-term efforts of the LaTeX3 project as a way to explore user interfaces for document design and authorship. This can be seen as being completely orthogonal to the underlying programming necessary to implement these sorts of ideas, but they obviously need to be built from something. No-one knows whether that programming will remain as pure LaTeX in the form of the expl3 bundle or will start incorporating some Lua programming as well. From my point of view, it really doesn’t matter, since expl3 is compatible with LuaTeX and whoever is writing the code can use whatever is most comfortable to them.
The elephant in the room is my almost-finished PhD Thesis; my LaTeX work and my research work have been at cross-interests (in terms of using up my time and attention) for some time now.
My plan for the rest of the year is to finish my thesis and then continue to earn some money part-time, primarily teaching in the school of mechanical engineering where I’m currently spending most of my time. This will give me the opportunity, with any luck, to work a couple of full days a week on LaTeX activities and get some real work done in the LaTeX world.
Let’s see how we go.