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List of Names
- Language type:
TeX is a descriptive, interpreted language
used to process, format, and typeset
documents. TeX also has many of the
facilities of a block-structured language,
and is used to extend the text formatting
system of which it is a part.
TeX statements (macro calls) are normally
embedded and interspersed through text
to be formatted. Most TeX programming
is confined to macro and extension
packages written to allow TeX users to
create new, improved, or specialized kinds
For doing this kind of programming,
TeX offers string and numeric data types,
very simple control flow constructs,
and the ability to define macros (analogous
TeX is implemented as an interpreted
macro processor for the control of a
general engine for producing typeset
documents. The engine provides very
simple but general-purpose formatting
commands (called Plain TeX),
and facilities for building up more
sophisticated commands in the TeX
While TeX is powerful enough to express
(at least) all primitive recursive
predicates, its syntax makes it ill-suited
for general-purpose computation.
Several commercial and free implementations
of TeX exist. Free versions of
TeX for Unix, Mac, Linux, Windows, and other
systems can be downloaded
from sites on the Comprehensive TeX
Donald Knuth, 1978, 1982.
- See Also:
TeX, and the various extension packages
for it, are very heavily used in academic
to format books, dissertations, and scholarly
papers. TeX is especially popular in the
mathematics and physics communities because
it has superlative support for typesetting
mathematical formulae. Using TeX as
a programming language, document authors
can create new formatting techniques and
procedures to meet their specific
requirements. For example, many people
employ TeX packages to collect and
format index and
bibliography data for their documents.
Many good books about TeX exist, check the
web sites linked here for more information.
- Sample code:
Descriptions in this dictionary are ©1997-99 Neal Ziring. Some
examples copyright of their respective authors. Some
technologies and languages are trademarked. Permission to
copy descriptions is granted as long as authorship credit is preserved.
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Dictionary and script maintained by Neal Ziring, last major modifications 3/18/98. Most recent
additions to dictionary and master list, 1/00.