Sound and Fury

Signifying nothing

Backwards compatibility

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A long time ago, I decided to see if I could rewrite an essay I’d written as an undergrad in Open Office in LaTeX. I gave up soon after because (1) it was pointless since I had since then written a better paper (in LaTeX) on the same subject (the conventionality of spacetime geometry, if you must know) and (2) it was really irritating going through doing things like changing “…” into “…”  and so on.

Now, recently I was again recovering old ground and I wanted to write something similar to something I mentioned in an essay I wrote (in LaTeX) as an MA student (About coin flipping and partitioning the space of initial conditions…). I was surprised to discover that even that was laborious to update. I had to do things like go through and replace \citet and \citep with \textcite and \parencite as appropriate. This is because I moved to using biblatex rather than bibtex. I know about the natbib=true compatibility option, but it doesn’t behave properly all the time, particularly with multiple citations… And I had to add signposts to my \labels. That is, write \label{fig:zebra} rather than \label{zebra}. OK, “had to” is probably a bit strong. I wanted to, because I think it’s a good idea to signpost whether it’s a figure or an equation or a section or what have you that you’re referring to.

Today I discovered that it is reccommended that I use \(…\) instead of $…$ for inline maths in LaTeX. This means that even a paper I wrote a couple of months ago (about the principle of indifference) which I now want to work on again has to be updated in a non trivial way before I can use it. (This is a change I can’t just do Find and Replace for… On the other hand, it’s an aesthetic thing rather than a functionality thing. $…$ still works fine, but I like to follow proper practice…)

So I suppose that means I should stick to writing about new stuff rather than recovering old ground if I want to avoid having to laboriously fix minor pseudoproblems with my LaTeX code…


Written by Seamus

September 21, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Posted in LaTeX

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