Ever since learning Vim, I've felt slow going in anything else. Lately I've been writing my notes and other small documents in Markdown using Vim. I've decided to to take it a step further by learning a TeX formatting language.
I've read that ConTeXt is more "Batteries Included", with a consistent design unlike LaTeX which requires packages with a not so consistent design. LaTeX however, has many packages and tools, but then again LaTeX has many conflicts between packages. That is my understand between them so please correct me if I'm wrong.
I'm kind of leaning towards ConTeXt because I also read on their site that it's easier to make my own design, in LaTeX I need to use one made by someone else because its so complicated. But I'm learning web design and development so if its really not much harder than CSS let me know. I'm also not sure if ConTeXt is good for the long run due to the lack of good documentation, and books.
An HTML converter could be very useful on couple projects in the the not so near future (a book with a PDF and Web version), and LaTeX looks to be in the lead here. ConTeXt converts to XML which means I will need to learn XSLT and more advanced stuff of XHTML to use. Since some LaTeX packages that I may or may not want to use might conflict with HTML conversion tools, I may not be able to covert to HTML very easily anyway.
At this moment I'm very much undecided. It appears as if ConTeXt might be less of a headache to work with. LaTeX on the other hand has more learning material and tools that could let me do more.
So, as some one with experience, what do you think I would be best for me, or any other beginner, who has no experience in TeX whatsoever?
Also, if you recommend Latex, what back-end should I use? XeTeX, LuaTeX, pdfTeX? What packages should I use that are known to work well together?