Plain-text, content-driven writing

I just got to share how happy I am with my (scientific) writing toolkit, which I would sum up as “plain-text, content-driven writing”. It’s plain text because I try to put as much information in plain text as possible. And using tools like LaTeX, Bibtex and Graphviz, that is quite a lot. LaTeX does all the layouting of text, footnotes and stuff; it also has environments for tables, bar charts, algorithms, glossaries, an index, source code, IPA signs, and glossed examples. Graphviz is excellent for all kinds of graphs, like trees or state machines. It also works quite well for UML class and activity diagrams. Both LaTeX and Graphviz are content-driven because when using them, you can focus on content and need not worry about layouting at all, leaving that to someone who knows how to do that well and fast (like, again, LaTeX, Bibtex and Graphviz). Then take this fully plain-text content and combine it with a great versioning system, add its integration and Graphviz support in your favourite IDE, grab an awesome LaTeX-Editor, find a way to organize your literature and you will, maybe, be as happy as I am.


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