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[Orgmode] Example of thesis in org-mode and LaTeX

From: Daniel Clemente
Subject: [Orgmode] Example of thesis in org-mode and LaTeX
Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2007 03:14:11 +0100


* intro  ;(warning: orgstruct-powered e-mail...)

  I recently published my final thesis, written entirely with org-mode:

- description of the thesis: http://www.danielclemente.com/disk/disk.en.html
- direct link to PDF: http://www.danielclemente.com/disk/disk.de.pdf
- source file:  http://www.danielclemente.com/disk/disk.de.org

  I started writing it in LyX but after some months I changed to
org-mode. It was a risky change since org-export-as-latex was still in
development, but thanks to Bastien all bugs were quickly fixed.

  It's not a complex document (no images, no formulas) but has lists,
footnotes, bibliography (references) and other embedded LaTeX
(including the preamble in a local variable). I haven't tried yet
exporting it as HTML.

** experiences

  The change was really worth it:

*** integration
  I could do everything inside emacs. That means, even without mouse,
using my favourite key combinations. And with an integrated browser
where I could look up words in the dictionary.

*** outline
  The outlining function of org-mode was the most useful. It's
wonderful seeing 60 pages condensed in one and at the same time being
able to change each detail without much trouble.

  A problem was that each header doesn't give information about how
much text it contains: at the outline you can see „Point 1" and „Point
2", but you don't notice that for instance that „Point 1" contains
just half page and „Point 2" four pages; and that was important for me
since I had to control the number of pages per section.

*** tasks
  I could also track tasks. Each section started as some notes in
Spanish, then I would translate it to German, and finally ask some
German native speaker to revise the text. Each item went through

  To track translations and corrections I used an additional section
and normal lists. I didn't use properties at each trackable section
because that was slower than copying the overview to a piece of paper
and drawing possible distributions of the work there. This was because
the assignments were complex to describe: ex. a person was correcting
point 3 --except 3.2-- and point 4; another one was correcting 3.1,
3.3, 3.4 and 5 but just after point 3.3 is completely translated; etc.
And I wanted to distribute work evenly; therefore I needed to write at
each section how many pages it took. And this was easier with a „piece
of paper", especially it didn't require much time to optimize.

  If I had to do this again, I would invest more time on learning
„org-columns", since it provides a similar approach to what I did in
the paper: for each section there's a column „person assigned for
translation" and „person assigned for revision".

** Problems

  Problems I had with org-mode:

- bugs or missing features of org-export-latex: but all which I
reported where corrected by Bastien
- the syntax of org-mode hindered me from doing what I wanted:
 - I couldn't write *1* *2* *3* etc.
 - it took a lot of hacks to write a number in brackets: [1]
 - things „like *this*" didn't work out of the box (and reached
unnoticed the final version)
 - the processing of some characters wasn't very clear: ~ # \ $ etc.
gave export problems

  Many of these syntax problems were already corrected

** end

  I hope that this encourages others to write more long articles with
org-mode. It's possible and very comfortable; and the more work there
is, the more it helps!

  Thanks for org-mode,


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