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I wonder if any users have thoughts about using TeX for documents that need to be editable in the future. I doubt, for instance, that I could build documents even from a few years ago:

  • Packages change, develop new conflicts, etc.
  • Supporting technologies change (e.g., BibLaTeX has replaced BibTeX in recent years)

For many applications, this is irrelevant. But I have some materials that I would like to update in the future. I've run into a few situations where I return to a document after a year or two, and have to spend half a day debugging the code because the packages have changed.

Is there anything that can be done to address this within TeX, or would I need to look at an alternate format?

marked as duplicate by Alan Munn, Zarko, Mensch, user13907, Paul Gaborit Jul 16 '16 at 23:06

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  • That (loss of backeard compatibiliy) shouldn't happen, but it happens sometime. If only all the packages had the compat philosophy of pgfplots... – Rmano Jul 16 '16 at 12:40
  • I keep my documents simple and stupid. so far I had to put quite some maintenance into my thesis and presentation templates, until I was forced to overhaul them from scratch to make them easier to maintain. for some documents I use VMs in which I "freeze" a version of the TeX environment at the current state. – naphaneal Jul 16 '16 at 12:56
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    Depends on exactly how archival you want: for real stability with 100% no changes you also need to store the binaries (see what the AMS do). This has come up before: I'll try to track down a dupe. – Joseph Wright Jul 16 '16 at 14:40

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