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TeX is frustrating me. It has only the basics - and even then, I have to search how to divide two numbers.

The question is this: can I write my macros in more convenient language like Ruby or Lisp?

UPD: I will explain my situation. I'm writing a rulebook for my RPG module, and I need to construct an equipment table. Problem is, my rules are not the simplest ones:


I want nice fonts, so I use XeLaTeX. I am Russian, so I need polyglossia or babel.

Please note that every suggestion is tested against XeLaTeX, not LaTeX.

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Broad answer 'no', but look at LaTeX3's expl3 language as a richer set of tools built on top of TeX. – Joseph Wright Oct 16 '12 at 11:22
Or switch to LuaTeX and use lua. – Loop Space Oct 16 '12 at 11:25
May you show an example of a situation in which such programming features are needed? – egreg Oct 16 '12 at 11:43
up vote 12 down vote accepted

My PythonTeX package is another Python-based option. PythonTeX was primarily developed for mathematical and scientific applications, but it's also suitable for much general-purpose work. I've included a few basic examples of creating macros with PythonTeX below. You do have to be careful about catcodes if you are working with special characters.



Basic math:  \py{5324/251}

Macros that more closely interact with TeX:


\reverse{A sentence!}

    \py{'&'.join("#1".split(','))} \\

\listtotabular{First, Second, Third, Fourth}


enter image description here

In addition to the examples above, and the examples included with the documentation, you might also look at the following examples.

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It's very buggy. Did you know that 'newfloat' package is actially distributed as 'caption'? I couldn't run the example, some obscure pgf error (pgfopts is installed) about /PYTX. – Alexander Yakovlev Oct 17 '12 at 2:35
I'd overlooked that you need XeLaTeX. The example above works with XeLaTeX (at least with Windows with a fresh TeX Live 2012 installation). But the example file from GitHub won't work, unless you remove the inputenc and fontenc packages, load fontspec and use \defaultfontfeatures{Ligatures=TeX}, and run xelatex with the -8bit option. The -8bit option is needed for handling tabs; see this. – G. Poore Oct 17 '12 at 5:06
Thanks; it gave me a mountain of errors, but worked. Seems like it needs strict TL2012. – Alexander Yakovlev Oct 17 '12 at 7:45
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PerlTeX is not working with XeTeX, and LuaLaTeX has known issues with non-Latin languages. I couldn't start python package, it gives a "can't find file `test.py.out'." error, but I'll keep digging that way. – Alexander Yakovlev Oct 17 '12 at 2:09

While I haven't tried, you might be able to use bashful to interact with programs written in other languages via stdin and stdout.

I had no problems with a simple example as long as I compiled with -shell-escape:



I am not sure about the polyglossia issue that is mentioned in the documentation.

share|improve this answer
Seems like it hacks Polyglossia, causing it to use latin monospaced font. Also gives me an error because "File test.stdout was empty" – Alexander Yakovlev Oct 17 '12 at 2:19
@AlexanderYakovlev I could get a simple example running no problem – StrongBad Oct 17 '12 at 13:40

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