Well, from my own experience I would suggest that you first focus on the content, then again on the content and after that, on the content. At the very end, you might play around with different styles and packages to modify the appearance of your text. With a long term project like a book it is very important to get not too much distracted by unimportant ...
Please add your resources to this answer!
A Short Introduction to LaTeX2ε by Tobias Oetiker et al. (online, but also included in MiKTeX and TeX Live)
Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, ...
Final Status October 2013 --- eBook is now available with a special promotion price until the end of the year
I'm happy to announce that there is finally an eBook version of "The LaTeX Companion, 2ed" available. It was a rather challenging exercise due to the many examples in the book and the need to reproduce the example output faithfully on that media. ...
If you're already familiar with (LaTeX), then I would heartily recommend just starting to write (as Yiannis says), but with the memoir class (which you can read up on in parallel as the work evolves), rather than book.
Memoir includes two really good manuals: The Memoir Class for Configurable Typesetting is a combination of good typography and how-to-do-it, ...
TeX is an interpreter and macro processor (the canonical implementation of which written in WEB, a dialect of pascal) it takes in text files consisting of text and macros, and font files (and a few other possible things) and expands the macros and evaluates some expressions defined in the TeX syntax and produces a file description of a sequence of typeset ...
Also worth reading:
“LaTeX for Complete Novices” by our highly esteemed TeX.SE member Nicola Talbot.
It’s available in the WWW on http://www.dickimaw-books.com/latex/novices/, where you can get 3 PDF versions (2 different paper formats and a version for screen viewing), a HTML version and the sources.
Very recently the A4 PDF version was also added ...
You can have a look at Knuth's Guide to Mathematical Typography, it is a bit different, but consider it as a guide by example. For example it helped me to solve Should one use thousands separators in equations?. (See also http://tex.loria.fr/typographie/mathwriting.pdf).
P.R Halmo's How to Write Mathematics is also good, although not concentrating on ...
This is the part of the documentation where ConTeXt is indeed
seriously lacking. There seems to be no good and complete
introductory book for ConTeXt, while there exist literally hundreds of
more or less good books for LaTeX. But do not despair,
there is still a way for a beginner to start getting into ConTeXt and
here is how.
A personal list of list for heavy LaTeX users:
More Math into LaTeX, 4ed. (easier)
A Guide To LaTeX, 4ed.
Digital Typography Using LaTeX. Springer.
The LaTeX Companion, 2ed.
The LaTeX Graphics Companion, 2ed.
And more: Many documents of LaTeX packages (user-level).
A personal useful book list for macro writers:
TeX by Topic. (...
“Dear Polish friends: I’m doubly sorry”, Knuth wrote at the top of a macro! “I’m doubly sorry that I have only a crude approximation to an ogonek”; and he went and drafted a macro to make an ogonek.
Now that was not a symbol that either appeared frequently or formed part of the mathematics of the paper. It was only required in the last two references, out ...
That's a tall order and there aren't many books that would fit (and none perfectly that I know of). But here we go:
Knuth: Digital Typography. Interesting set of papers by Don written about typesetting and his thoughts on it.
Papers and talks
Probably some papers in old tugboats available from tug.org, again it might be difficult to find them in ...
Books about (La)TeX
Tout ce que vous avez toujours voulu savoir sur LaTeX sans jamais oser le demander
Vincent Lozano's Tout… sur LaTeX is licenced under the licence art libre, typeset using LaTeX. An introduction book in French, clear and whose reading is rather easy.
pdf for screen
pdf to print
sources with figures
sources witout figures
buy a hardcopy
Knuth created a great little macro package; it should be in your local TeX installation as manmac.tex. He used it for the TeXbook. Reading it is very instructive. He does things like footnotes, inserts, and figures. There's a "proof mode" which changes the behavior of some things while you're proofing a manuscript. He has the proper macros for setting fonts ...
My perspective only
There are some online tutorials floating around with bad LaTeX practices which are contagious (exceptions exist). To follow good practices and understand the TeX/LaTeX behaviour always buy and read a good book(table of contents and preview/review may help to choose one) by peers/developers.
Also one should buy a TeX/LaTeX books as a ...
I've just found this paper, which seems to address some of the issues I want:
25 Years of TeX and Metafont: Looking back and looking forward — TUG 2003 keynote address by Nelson Beebe [TUGboat 25:1, 2004]
TeX has lasted longer than many other computer software technologies.
This article reviews some of the history of TeX and METAFONT, ...
Separation of presentation and content
LaTeX is based on the idea that authors should be able to focus on the
content of what they are writing without being distracted by its
visual presentation. In preparing a LaTeX document, the author
specifies the logical structure using familiar concepts such as
chapter, section, table, figure, etc., and lets ...
E-TeX: Guidelines for Future TeX Extensions by Frank Mittelbach [TUGboat 11:3, 1990]
With the announcement of TeX 3.0, Don Knuth acknowledged the need of
the (ever growing) TeX community for an even better system. But at the
same time, he made it clear, that he will not get involved in any
further enhancements that would change The ...
In addition to "TeX by Topic":
Oetiker's "The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX 2ε" in English.
Available in other languages as, for example, texdoc lshort-german
but these are usually older than the English version. Invoke as
texdoc lshort in TeX Live
Not all language versions are obvious; to get a full list of what's
available, at least on ...
Regarding the first two questions:
As the sources of Donald Knuth’s TeXBook are available from CTAN you can look inside and find individual kerning adjustments like
is a trademark of Addison\kern.1em--Wesley Publishing Company.
So I would say that a meticulous inspection was conducted.
The order is very critical. For example anything that affects line ...
The Art of LaTeX is a 100-page intro to the subject with a lot of parallel "LaTeX-code : typeset-result" examples throughout the text.
A companion book, The LaTeX Math Companion, does the same with math in LaTeX.
They are filled with examples, well-formatted and cross-indexed. Written by Helin Gai, formerly of Duke University.
In practice the source I ...
"Handbook of typography for the mathematical sciences" by Steven Krantz (2001) extended Swanson's "Mathematics into Type" into the digital typesetting, specifically TeX, world. Whilst it may not address all your questions in the detail you want it may be helpful to identify specific questions. There is a preview of the book on Google books.
A second work, ...
While not directly related to TeX, I'd say that a good read of Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style is relevant here. There is a lot of very careful detail in the book, and for example the discussion on altering font kerning is very useful. What it suggests more than anything is that you need to very carefully examine the output you have if you ...
I don't think you need to buy a book, but you could take a look here for recommended ones:
What are good learning resources for a LaTeX beginner?
As for your questions of "why", I would say that you need a starting book because learning by yourself can be a very slow process (since the TeX world is so big and so full of commands... which, btw, makes it ...
the use of "e", "eir", "em" was in the first draft of joy, pre-publication.
(i did much of the production work on the book, including helping to
create the code for formatting the index, so i don't even have to look.)
For me, I find that The LateX Companion by Mittelbach and Gossens. It is very useful especially for troubleshooting purposes when compiling errors when the code gets more sophisticated. I am writing a book and subdivide into chapter by file. Chapter 1 one tex file. The master file controls the overall includes bibliography cover page,preface etc.
For one ...
The definitive source for the documentation of the LaTeX kernel is source2e.pdf, compiled from the .dtx files from which latex.ltx and the auxiliary files loaded at format creation time are extracted. The PDF file should be available in your TeX distribution (texdoc source2e).
For example \@ifnextchar is documented in section 11.3 of source2e.pdf
That paper does look decent, and a lot better than most other science papers produced in *TeX (, InDesign or whatever application). @David: I don't think that Sedgewick's choosing InDesign is a major factor in the overall look of this particular document: pretty much all of what he does can be done in TeX (and some of it done better).
However, some of his ...