LaTeX is a markup(typesetting) language typically used to typeset books. It has got a huge collection of classes and packages to work with. Now, obviously, LaTeX cannot be compared to Adobe Products(like Photoshop), but using TikZ or pstricks, drawings under the engineering domain can be drawn with ease and perfection. LaTeX also provides many other features where Microsoft Word Lacks or rather it becomes tedious to implement like IEEE template. Now my question is, taking into all these considerations, where does LaTeX lack?Is there something that LaTeX misses out?Or becomes too tedious too implement?I am posting this question, on a thought based on my professor's quote: "What ever you do, there is always a room for improvement!"
closed as primarily opinion-based by cfr, Adam Liter, Peter Jansson, Sean Allred, Jesse Mar 11 '14 at 6:20
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(La)TeX does many things extremely well. It is excellent in typesetting beautiful text, but I think it lacks in areas of larger-scale design. For instance, I have long desired to put all of my recipes into a cookbook format, yet have been hung up on finding a way to do this that looks "good" not only for a small recipe (3 ingredients and steps), but also medium (many ingredients, but still only 2-3 steps) and big recipes with many ingredients and steps. Each recipe ends up needing to be custom tailored so that it looks good on the page. (Or maybe my standards are too high!)
True graphic design (think magazine layout) is tedious (it took 11 days and a 925 rep bounty to wrap text to a shape!), and it seems like the balance of quality vs. speed of implementation is better managed by programs like Publisher or Illustrator. Even "designs with graphics" (
tikz and the like; not unlike complicated engineering drawings as the OP alludes to) seem like they require much more effort to create with text than they would in a GUI based program (like Inkscape or OmniGraffle).
These are things that (La)TeX doesn't do easily -- which isn't to say things shouldn't be improved or that it doesn't look great once it is implemented. But there is something to be said also for using the right tool for the right job. I would agree with @cfr when she pointed out that ...
Usually, when software tries to 'miss nothing out', it ends up a horrible, complex mess which is difficult to maintain, even harder to use and incapable of doing even one thing well.
LaTeX is particularly focused on certain presentation and cultural styles. For example, if you want to use english, rather than american formatting, you need to load packages, rather than configure a defaults page.
Likewise, it supposes a particular set of functions like
\sin, and it's only due to the AMS package and its unwealdly
\operatormame function that you can break out of Knuth's rather limited set of functions.
The construction of paragraph styles is still behind the word processors. You can use the tabbing environment, but this is stuck in the days of left justified fields.
It's not very good at handling non decimal bases. For example, I do work with base 2.618033, using f as the digit 1.618033. It's rather hard to suppress ligitures in areas. Likewise, a good number of calculations are done in a historic base 120. You can't tell it that V and E are digits, and that the radix is :.
It's very frustrating to set up numbering straight through of sections, as one sees in older books, although this can be done.
One thing that is useful is to have a tabular format, with ordinary text paragraphs within it. I got around this on part with the
tabbing environment, and preset strings. But selecting from a set of para styles is still a long way behind ami pro. You can't just say
\para1 and have settings set for that.
Text emphasis is patchy.
Writing glossaries and dictionaries is nigh on next to near impossible. You can't create objects of connected fields, for example.