Interfacing LuaTeX with Julia

27 December, 2017 (4 minute read). Category: FFI. Tags: julia.

One cool feature of LuaTeX is ability to interface with external libraries using Lua’s Foreign Function Interface (FFI). An extreme example of this is Luigi Scarso’s LuaTeX lunatic, which provides a two way bridge between Python and LuaTeX. Not being a Python fan, I never looked into the implementation details, in spite of Luigi’s impressive examples.

Recently, Henri Menke posted an interesting example that shows how to use a function from GNU Scientific Library (GSL) to inteface with pgfplots. This got me interested in looking into Lua’s FFI in detail. After a bit of trial and error, I finally figured out how to interface LuaTeX with my current favorite programming language: Julia.

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Using Font Awesome

26 November, 2017 (2 minute read). Category: Fonts, Macros. Tags: font awesome, symbols.

Font Awesome is a font that provides pictographic icons and is commonly used to display icons for email, editing tasks, popular social media website, etc. It is easy to use Font Awesome in ConTeXt: the font ships with ConTeXt Standalone and ConTeXt includes a symbolset to easily access the icons using names rather than icon numbers.

To use FontAwesome icons in ConTeXt, simply load the symbolset fontawesome using


and then any icon is accessible using


where ... is the name of the icon is listed in the Font Awesome icon list.

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Comibined characters in Math

15 October, 2017 (3 minute read). Category: Mathematics. Tags: asciimath.

There is a new feature in ConTeXt that replaces some ascii math (I am using this term informally. The symbols do not match the asciimath symbol list). It is enabled by default and replaces a combination of characters by a glyph. For example,

A function $f$ is an increasing function
    x <= y  ===> f(x) <= f(y)


{map[src:/context-blog/post/math-combined-characters/ex-1.png class:center alt:Example of combined characters]  Page("Comibined characters in Math") <nil> true <nil>}

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Typesetting differential equations

18 September, 2017 (4 minute read). Category: Macros. Tags: luatex, programming, separating content and presentation.

This semester I am teaching a course involving linear differential equations, so I have typeset many differential equations that look like this:

{map[src:/context-blog/post/typesetting-differential-equations/LDE.png class:center alt:Simple example]  Page("Typesetting differential equations") <nil> true <nil>}

Believe me, writing such equations by hand gets tedious very quickly. So, I wanted a macro \LDE (for Linear Differential Equation), so that I could just type

\LDE{1, -3, 2}{2, 1}

and get the above result. This post describes how to write such a macro using LuaTeX + ConTeXt.

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Frame with solid left line

18 August, 2017 (1 minute read). Category: Visualization. Tags: backgrounds, framed.

Adding a solid line of the left side of a frame, block quote, etc. creates a simple, clean, and attractive visual effect that I like.

{map[src:/context-blog/post/frame-with-solid-left-line/leftframe-0.png class:center alt:Simple example]  Page("Frame with solid left line") <nil> true <nil>}

I don’t know when I first came across this style, but it is used commonly on the Internet to show blockquotes. So, how do we get this style with ConTeXT?

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Drop shadows with lifted corners

6 August, 2017 (2 minute read). Category: Visualization. Tags: metapost, backgrounds, shadows.

There is an old question on TeX.SE asking how to draw drop shadows with a lifted corner. For fun, I decided to translate the code to Metapost and release it as a module: t-backgrounds. I hope to add a few other backgrounds to the module in the near future.

The module provides two overlays liftedshadow:big and liftedshadow:medium. These may be used like any other overlay. Let’s see an example:

{map[src:/context-blog/post/drop-shadow-with-lifted-corners/example.png class:center alt:Simple example]  Page("Drop shadows with lifted corners") <nil> true <nil>}

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Correct math escape in t-vim

22 July, 2017 (3 minute read). Category: Formatting. Tags: t-vim, math, horizontal spacing, code formatting.

There is a feature in t-vim module that allows the use of TeX code in comments, which is useful when typeset math in comments. For example:

\definevimtyping[C][syntax=c, escape=on]

/* The following function computes the roots of \m{ax^2+bx+c=0}
 * using the determinant \m{\Delta=\frac{-b\pm\sqrt{b^2-2ac}}{2a}}

double root (double a, double b, double c) {....}

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Rising from the ashes

10 June, 2017 (1 minute read). Category: Announcement. Tags: blog.

I used to blog on Wordpress, mainly about ConTeXt, but occasionally about other stuff as well. It has been almost three years since I last posted there. I got busy. Both in my personal and professional life. This is an attempt to restart that blog.

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Metapost and TeX labels

22 January, 2014 (3 minute read). Category: Metapost. Tags: label, metapost.

Default Metapost has the concept of two types of labels, postscript labels and TeX labels. Postscript labels are created using

label("text", location);

while TeX labels are created using

label(btex text etex, location);

In the latter case, Metapost collects everything between btex and etex in a separate file, processes that file through TeX, and includes the resulting postscript code at an appropriate location. Such a Rube Golberg-esque mechanism is needed to propertly typeset mathematics, get proper kerning, etc.; tasks that TeX can do but Postscript cannot.

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Creating a clean presentation style in 40 commits

13 January, 2013 (1 minute read). Category: Visualization. Tags: git, presentation, tutorial.

Did you always want to learn ConTeXt, but did not know where to start? I have written a git-based tutorial that should help you get started. The idea of the tutorial is to start with an empty document, and add features one-by-one. Each git commit corresponds to one small change in the document, and includes pointers to the documentation corresponding to that change. Read Use this tutorial as follows: Clone the git repository:

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