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This is a very general question about LaTeX, asked by a 100% newbie!

I'm trying to figure out if it's feasible to build an automatic newspaper creation engine, and if LaTeX can help in this field.

The goal is to be able to build something like:


... based on a list of articles, each made up of text, images, and some meta-informations, like a "template" and maybe a few other high-level informations.

Does anyone have experience / examples in this field?

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Welcome to tex.sx! Note that it is unusual around here to sign your questions (as there is already a box with your username below it) or to have any greeting. – Martin Scharrer Feb 25 '11 at 9:13
Hi, I'll write my posts more carefully next time, sorry for that! – plang Feb 25 '11 at 9:24
There's no reason to be sorry; after all, this is your first post here! Welcome from me, too! – Hendrik Vogt Feb 25 '11 at 9:29
As Hendrik said there is no reason to be sorry. It is just normal that moderators and higher rep users do some housework around here and tiding posts up. Then we add a comment to explain that edit. – Martin Scharrer Feb 25 '11 at 10:25
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Yes, it is possible. But there are two problems here, the typesetting and the design issue.

Typesetting: Of course TeX handles typesetting very well. But you will run into things like shaped paragraphs. For these you need to calculate the shape of the image that will blend into the paragraph. Or if you have a rectangular graphic that is in the middle of two columns, you need to cut out this shape in two columns. This all gets really difficult in LaTeX.

Design: You can't fit a text into a grid easily. You need to take into account how long the text is. You have one or two images along with the text. Do you want them to be above the text, below? Which stories go on the first page? These questions require a lot of designing. And putting the design instructions into LaTeX code is not a fun task.

At my company we offer a TeX based software that solves problem #1, but #2 has do be done nevertheless.

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Hi, thanks for your answer. Is it possible to have the URL of the website of the company your work for? Your solution for problem #1 interests me. – plang Feb 25 '11 at 10:24
I've put a link on my "about me" page, but it's all in german. – topskip Feb 25 '11 at 10:29
No problem with german, I live in the country just below yours, although I speak french... Thanks. – plang Feb 25 '11 at 10:37
For complicated typesetting of text around an image, the shapepar package might be of utility. See this question: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/4644/… – Martin Tapankov Feb 25 '11 at 11:02
@Martin You need to do two things: a) get the "outline" of the image and b) create a paragraph shape from that outline. For that you also need to know where the image is located. This problem is much, much more complicated in TeX based typesetting then in a DTP typesetting. – topskip Feb 25 '11 at 11:12

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