Technical writing with LaTeX, Vim, and Git

12 July 2016


creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by Inkysloth

If you are like me, then you may enjoy writing in a notebook with a fountain pen — if you have not tried writing this way, then borrow someone's fountain pen and try it! As much as I may like writing with a fountain pen, I still spend a substantial amount of time preparing technical papers and presentations in LaTeX with the Vim text editor — a task I also find to be challenging and rewarding.

If you write with Vim and LaTeX and you would like to improve your writing experience, then please consider using the vimtex plugin as it supports wonderful features like the completion of BibTeX references, continuous compilation with latexmk, and forward and reverse searching for MuPDF PDF viewer. Are you interested in learning more about how I configured these plugins? Please study the source code of my .vimrc that is available in the GitHub repository gkapfham/dotfiles.

Yes, it is possible to use these tools to create nicely formatted and correct papers. As an example of a paper, please consider reading (McMinn, Kapfhammer, & Wright, 2016), the source code of which is also available in a GitHub repository at gkapfham/ast2016-paper. An example of a presentation that I prepared in LaTeX is (Kapfhammer, 2015), which you can study from its GitHub repository at gkapfham/seke2015-presentation. There's something else that is really nice about programming your papers and presentations in LaTeX — you can release their source code on GitHub to share with others an "instruction manual" that explains, in a step-by-step fashion, exactly how to produce a document just like yours!

Enjoy this post? If so, please read, A launching pad for search-based software engineering, my most recent article.

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