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1.1 Introduction 

This work about computer-assisted typesetting by (La)TeX and Metafont in context, is aimed at a broad audience. Novice users ŕ la BLU - Ben Lee User from the TeXbook fame - who like to become informed what it is all about, advanced LaTeX users who hardly have heard of ManMac, and mathematicians and publishers who will find the offerings of the ams interesting.

Many notes, articles and books about TeX have been published. Advanced ones exploring TeX's limits, and also contributions at the survey and introductory level. The latter deal with the macroscopic markup features as well as the microscopics of automatic kerning, (for example with A and V in AV) the automatic handling of ligatures (for example with f and i in fi), the automatic justification and hyphenation supported by hyphenation tables, and the formatting of math, tables and graphics. They also boast of the quality which can be obtained when formatting the typographic teasers: math, tables and graphics.

In the TeXniques series we have the tutorials: `A gentle introduction to TeX,' by Michael Doob, and `First grade TeX,' by Arthur Samuel. For LaTeX there is: `An introduction to LaTeX,' by Michael Urban, and - for the Dutch speaking community - `Publiceren met LaTeX,' by de Bruin. Also noteworthy is Hoenig's `TeX for new users,' and the introduction chapter in Salomon's courseware `Insights and Hindsights', pulished by Springer-Verlag with title `The Advanced TeXbook.' For Metafont see Henderson's `An introduction to Metafont,' Tobin's `Metafont for beginners,' and Knuth's introductory article on the issue in TUGboat. Superb is Hobby's `A user's manual for Metapost.' A survey with respect to Electronic Publishing tools is `Document Formatting Systems: Survey, Concepts and Issues,' by Furuta and co-authors.

For trying it out and working with it, the user groups distribute PD versions of (La)TeX as well as integrated working environments for PCs, with all kinds of bells-and-whistles added. Ubiquitous is Mattes' PD emTeX, and the working environment 4allTeX, NTG's off-the-shelf, turnkey TeX system distributed on CD-rom. The TeX community distributes the TeX Live CD-rom aimed at UNIX platforms. This paper relates TeX and Metafont to ep, sgml and the like, as a helicopter view, and accounts for the many activities of its users.

Conventions and notations 

I adhered to the historical development of TeX et cetera, and did not order the tools with respect to perceived importance. The latter is a matter of taste and definitely time-dependent.

Because it is a `helicopter' view I need to refer to other work. This has been done a little loose trough the name of the (first) author and the title, or keywords form the title. The reader can easily spot from the supplied list of references which work is hinted at. Just start by the author name and look for the matching title. Hereby I assume that readers are familiar with some journal names, for example TUGboat, the journal of the TeX Users Group and the MAPS, the journal of the NTG.

For common words in the TeX arcana - like TeX, LaTeX, ams, et cetera - I adopted the TUGboat typesetting conventions by using their macros for formatting these names. File names are set in the typewriter font.

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