Sile: The LaTeX Alternative
Sile’s a typesetting program which makes nifty pdfs. It’s been going great for me, so I thought I’d share the journey so far.
- It’s based on lua, which is super-simple. You don’t need to know any lua to use it, but if you want to poke about, it’s easier enough for a non programmer to get an idea of what’s going on.
- It focusses on fields, so typesetting multiple columns, large headers, et c., is more reliable than Latex (no images wizzing off the page margin yet).
- Less breakable.
- It creates variables (
\newcounter) if you haven’t declared them.
- Variables are universal, so no worrying about which things tcolorbox recognizes, and what gets passed to tabular. Everyhing gets passed unless you tell it not to.
- Packages work together better IME, so far. I’ve only been playing for a while, but you can string arbitrary packages together and commands work as you expect them to.
- It’s tiny. ~7 Megs, including all basic packages, rather than 4.5 Gigs for a full Latex install.
- Select any font.
- UTF-8 supported natively - no problem with Cyrillic, katakana, et c.
- Random system fonts are used without problem or added packages (actually the docs notes you might have some problems).
- Clear documentation. Less than 100 pages. I have over 30 megabytes of Latex documentation so far.
- Development on the git’s been pretty steady, so it looks pretty future-proof.
- Youth. (Doesn’t have many packages)
- It’s set up to support tikz-like output well, given the XML support, but I suspect that actually doing tikz-things would involve learning a lot of Lua.
- No subsubsections in the book class.
- Limited documentation. If you don’t find what you need in the basic docs, you have to look at source code.
- Maths formulae are not the goal, so support will probably continue to be limited.