Hypothetical dialogue follows.
<insert subject name here>,
I would like to spend a few minutes talking about something cool. In fact, it's not just cool. It's amazingly cool. It's not "Albert Einstein playing guitar" cool, neither "Abraham Lincoln riding a bear with a machine gun" cool, it's way more superb. Believe me, it's super duper ultra mega hyper kamehameha über cool. I'll talk about something called LaTeX.
<insert subject name here>, it's not latex, but LaTeX. See the awesomeness right there? You have a completely different word, with caps and stuff. A word that you need to hold Shift no less than three times in order to get it right has to be good. Let's start with the basics.
Now, say techhhhhhh. The sound cannot come from the heart, it has to come from the throat. Some vocal exercises might help.
Good, now let's say those two words together: laytech. Good! Now you know how to pronounce this mysterious word. Please, clean up your monitor before proceeding (Don Knuth says monitors can get a little moist after such exercise). Who's Don, you say? Good ol' Donald Knuth, our guide! Here's a picture of him if you "don know don"! Ha! I'm funny.
No, Don doesn't have a TeX.sx T-shirt. Yet
Back to the LaTeX awesomeness. Do you like using Word, Writer or
<insert word application name here>? Have you ever encountered some sort of problem when using any of them? I did. File formats, images out of their original place, bad formatting. To name a few. Anyway, these programs are great. But what if I tell you there's something even greater than all of these programs?
Yes, there is.
Think of a program that takes a bunch of text, plain text with some markup in it, enters inside a blackbox and voilà, a cool PDF magically appears in the other side! What's this markup thing?
Think of rules. Logical rules. Too fast? OK, let's start with some concepts. For example, let's say every time you want to write a text in boldface, instead of clicking the B button of your word application while selecting the text you want to apply this style, you will simply write this word before the text:
QUACK. Wow, that's it? So
This is QUACK my text, yay!
will appear in bold?!
Yes. Of course, we need to define a range, so let's use another word to specify the end of the boldface range:
This is QUACK my text, POTATOES yay!
Believe it or not, this is a markup rule! Awesome, isn't it?
In LaTeX, we replace
}, but let's not worry with this now.
So, where should we type our texts? In any text editor! Yes, any editor. You just need to specify, via logical rules, how your document should look like. And guess what, LaTeX does the rest for you!
LaTeX is an application and it's free. Do you know what that means? You can get a high quality document and save money for beer!
LaTeX is shipped in something we call TeX distribution. Think of a toolbox. Everything you'll need is there. Just use and abuse.
We have something we call packages which help us make our documents look cooler. They are like LEGO blocks, just get the one you need for your project and use it!
So you see,
<insert subject name here>, we can use LaTeX in virtually any kind of document! Think of newspapers, articles, books, calendars, children party invitations, CVs, songsheets. The list is endless!
LaTeX generates beautiful documents from plain text. Simple yet amazing concepts. Why do I use it instead of a normal word application? LaTeX works.
Writing a document in LaTeX is similar of baking a pie. You have the ingredients, you know the order and how to dispose them. Now simply arrange them accordingly, put the plate into the oven and hope for the best. A document follows the same logic, sadly it's not as delicious as a pie.
Speaking of food, LaTeX is much like Marmite. Either you love or hate it.
Well, that's it,
<insert subject name here>. Thanks for the pair of socks for my birthday, I really appreciate the thought.
I was tempted to post this link.