I want to learn how to use tikz more in depth. But I wonder wether I should also learn how to use xy-pic, because it seems, at first glance, that xy-pic can do much of what tikz does when it comes to drawing (commutative) diagrams, and is shorter to write.

I have two questions :

  1. Wether I would gain something from learning both, or wether I could learn "only" tikz and in time achieve the same efficiency as with xy-pic in drawing large commutative diagrams?
  2. Wether it is common to know both and, maybe, use xy-pic for commutative diagrams, and tikz for more involved drawings, or wether people who are familiar with tikz feel xy-pic is made redundant?

Or am I underestimating the power of xy-pic?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Joseph Wright Feb 1 '14 at 21:30

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    In the long run, tikz is better to learn. There are several arrows that will look better with tikz than in xy when doing commutative diagrams. Most notably the hook arrow. – daleif Nov 11 '13 at 15:00
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    I think that if you use it right (separating presentation and content with styles) tikz can be much more readable and maintainable than xy-pic and since it can be used for other complex graphics it could be a good investment if should you need to produce other kind of pictures in the future. – Bordaigorl Nov 11 '13 at 15:37
  • IMHO if you are sending your file to publish I believe that xy is more acceptable. Almost all journals use xy for diagrams but since tikz is newer and it is almost every month being updated, I believe that they prefer traditional package, like xy. – Sigur Nov 11 '13 at 17:08
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    Both of tikz-cd and xymatrix are excellent tools for commutative diagrams, one might need both over time depending on application and acceptability. It does not harm to have little hands on experience/knowledge on both. Note: Recent years, there has been lot of pgf/tikz dependent packages, which is a hint for tikz direction . – texenthusiast Nov 11 '13 at 17:25
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    If your primary interest is in drawing commutative diagrams, I suggest you learn both xy-pic and tikz-cd. The syntax is so similar that learning both should not be a problem. I find the results from tikz-cd to be slightly better, but xy is probably more acceptable to journals, so it's a good idea to be able to use both. – Charles Staats Nov 12 '13 at 14:23