my TUG 2011 paper entitled "Towards LateX Coding Standards" is now
freely available for non TUG members. You can download it at
Towards LaTeX Coding Standards
Because LaTeX (and ultimately TeX) is only a macro-expansion system, the
language does not impose any kind of good software engineering practice,
program structure or coding style whatsoever. As a consequence, writing
beautiful code (for some definition of "beautiful") requires a lot of
self-discipline from the programmer.
Maybe because in the LaTeX world, collaboration is not so widespread
(most packages are single-authored), the idea of some LaTeX Coding
Standards is not so pressing as with other programming languages. Some
people may, and probably have developed their own programming habits,
but when it comes to the LaTeX world as a whole, the situation is close
Over the years, the permanent flow of personal development experiences
contributed to shape my own taste in terms of coding style. The issues
involved are numerous and their spectrum is very large: they range from
simple code layout (formatting, indentation, naming schemes etc.),
mid-level concerns such as modularity and encapsulation, to very
high-level concerns like package interaction/conflict management and
even some rules for proper social behavior.
In this paper, I report on all these experiences and describe what I
think are good (or at least better) programming practices. I believe
that such practices do help in terms of code readability,
maintainability and extensibility, all key factors in software
evolution. They help me, perhaps they will help you too.
Resistance is futile. You will be jazzimilated.
Scientific site: http://www.lrde.epita.fr/~didier
Music (Jazz) site: http://www.didierverna.com
EPITA/LRDE, 14-16 rue Voltaire, 94276 Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France
Tel. +33 (0)1 44 08 01 85 Fax. +33 (0)1 53 14 59 22