Tinkerer's Guide to the TeXbook
Tinkerer's Guide to the TeXbook
Tinkerer's Guide to the TeXbook

About the Book

TeX and LaTeX for Students

In this book, we teach you TeX and LaTeX the way a student would learn it, not how Donald Knuth worked out his thought processes (bless him for his genius and dedication). In a nutshell, this book is an update to TeXbook to seamlessly include LaTeX. We may name this "LaTeXbook" if that is what you (readers) prefer! (We still like the name "TeXbook", and we consider Donald Knuth the forefront in book-naming expertise.)

User Guide, Engineering (and batteries) Included

We have taken apart the TeXbook by reading and thinking TeX the way Donald Knuth thought it --- in designing a typesetting software (TeX). We took apart TeX to lay down an "engineer's guide" to TeX, yet this book quickly makes you a competent LaTeX user. We believe in engineering documentation that directly links to real-world usage. Still, engineers (programmers) will be tickled by the inside view of TeX presented in this book. (TeXbook really is structured as a user's guide. Donald Knuth simply mixed in too much engineering while missing adequate hands-on exploration; computers were expensive in his time!)

LaTeX is TeX is LaTeX

Why TeX? Because LaTeX has supplemented TeX, not superseded it. TeX leads to LaTeX, but LaTeX experts will tell you to learn TeX too. Yet, books on LaTeX skip TeX concepts altogether; LaTeX is a lot to cover already. Since TeXbook isn't quite fluid a prose for a quick learner's guide, students are left stranded on the largely obsolete TeXbook or clueless (and/or overwhelmed) on LaTeX books.

The Missing Link

This book also covers LaTeX, actually. As you read through this tinkerer's guide, you will see a seamless segue from TeX to LaTeX. Understanding TeX also lets you grasp the raison d'être of LaTeX, which really is just an avalanche of clever, iterative improvements over TeX.

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