This page tries to give a quick summary of available resources for abstract markup language TeX invented 1978 by Donald E. Knuth of Stanford University for the purpose of text processing. While at the time of invention a competing proprietary markup language Troff written originally by Joseph F. Ossanna of Bell Labs was widely used on Unix platform, American Mathematical Society has adopted TeX immediately after 1978 Gibbs Lecture delivered by Dr. Knuth at the joint AMS meeting due to its superior mathematics formating capabilities. Since then TeX engine has been completely rewritten by Dr. Knuth in 1982. In early ninety eighties Leslie Lamport wrote a set of macros for TeX called LaTeX which are presently de-facto standard for writing mathematics.
- The Comprehensive TeX Archive Network
- AMS TeX Resources
- A Gentle Introduction to TeX by Michael Doob
- The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX 2e by Oetiker, Partl, Hyna, and Schlegl
The TeXbook by Donald Knuth was written by the creator of TeX himself. It is the original TeX manual and it is considered by many the best-written technical manual for any piece of software, ever. It contains a complete description of the TeX language as well as much good advice on typographical style. The appropriateness of this book for the beginner has been the subject of much debate on Internet news groups. if you really want to understand what makes TeX tick, short of going to the TeX source code, there is no other choice than The TeXbook.
The Advanced TeXbook starts with introductory material which is followed by eighteen chapters where every aspect of the TeX language is supposedly explained. This is the only book in which multi-pass jobs, output routines, and insertions are thoroughly explained. The book is must have for anyone aspiring to write a new package for LaTeX. One word of caution. Even though the author of the book correctly observes that understanding tokens and file I/O should be mastered by anyone aspiring to the title of TeXmaster, the tokens could not be mastered with The Advanced TeXbook . The author unfortunately has a wrong idea of the tokenization process.
TeX by Topic is a book written by a leading TeX dissectionist Victor Eijkhout. If you have interest in internals of TeX engine from the theoretical computer science point of view this is the book to read. For most TeX users the usefulness of the book is limited to the thorough explanation of the tokanization process. The book was originally published by Addison-Wesley in early nineties of the last century. After going out of print the copyright reverted back to Dr. Eijkhout who is now making book freely available from his web-site Victor's Web-site. If you Google you will also be able to find a set of lecture notes written by Dr. Eijkhout for the course in TeX he delivered 2004 at Vanderbilt University. For all those just learning about lex, yacc, and their applications to TeX his notes are must have.
A careful reader will observe that in this book selection we were slightly biased toward TeX books relative to LaTeX manuals. Guide to LaTeX by Helmut Kopka and Patrick W. Daly is our recommendation for people who really want to focus on LaTeX and use it to write mathematics. LaTeX is a set of macros originally written by PDE guru turned computer scientist Leslie Lamport. Even though Dr. Lamport wrote a LaTeX manual (LaTeX : A Document Preparation System User's Guide and Reference Manual ) it is a bit outdated. The another commonly recommended book, The LaTeX Companion by F. Mittelbach and M Goossens, is a bit disorganized thus our choice is Kopka and Patrick.
While TeX has no native graphics component there are a large number of programming languages and tools that have been developed to fill this gap. The LaTeX Graphics Companion by Michel Goossens, Sebastian Rahtz, and Frank Mittelbach describes many ways to incorporate graphics and color into a LaTeX document. These include the standard graphics packages for including graphics files, MetaPost (Asymptote), PSTricks, and PGF/TikZ. If all you need is to include a few of EPS figures drown by Xfig, then this book may be overkill, but for those who want drawing tools more powerful than a simple graphics editor, this book will prove quite useful. The word of caution though. The book in review does a very good job in describing various languages and tools but it is not a substitute for reading documentation which comes with such serious tools as MetaPost(Asymtote), PSTricks, and PGF/TikZ.