Japanese TeX User Meeting 2017

Last saturday the Japanese TeX User Meeting took place in Fujisawa, Kanagawa. For those who have been at the TUG 2013 in Tokyo you will remember that the Japanese TeX community is quite big and vibrant. On Saturday about 50 users and developers gathered for a set of talks on a variety of topics.

The first talk was by Keiichiro Shikano (鹿野 桂一郎) on using Markup text to generate (La)TeX and HTML. He presented a variety of markup formats, including his own tool xml2tex.

The second talk was my Masamichi Hosoda (細田 真道) on reducing the size of PDF files using PDFmark extraction. As a contributor to many projects including Texinfo and LilyPond, Masamichi Hosoda tells us horror stories about multiple font embedding in the manual of LilyPond, the permanent need for adaption to newer Ghostscript versions, and the very recent development in Ghostscript prohibiting the merge of font definitions in PDF files.

Next up was Yusuke Terada (寺田 侑祐) on grading exams using TeX. Working through hundreds and hundreds of exams and do the grading is something many of us are used to and I think nobody really enjoys it. Yusuke Terada has combined various tools, including scans, pdf merging using pdfpages, to generate gradable PDF which were then checked on an iPad. On the way he did hit some limits in dvipdfmx on the number of images, but this was obviously only a small bump on the road. Now if that could be automatized as a nice application, it would be a big hit I guess!

The forth talk was by Satoshi Yamashita (山下 哲) on the preparation of slides using KETpic. KETpic is a long running project by Setsuo Takato (高遠節夫) for the generation of graphics, in particular using Cinderella. KETpic and KETcindy integrates with lots of algebraic and statistical programs (R, Maxima, SciLab, …) and has a long history of development. Currently there are activities to incorporate it into TeX Live.

The fifth talk was by Takuto Asakura (朝倉 卓人) on programming TeX using expl3, the main building block of the LaTeX3 project and already adopted by many TeX developers. Takuto Asakura came to fame on this years TUG/BachoTeX 2017 when he won the W. J. Martin Prize for his presentation Implementing bioinformatics algorithms in TeX. I think we can expect great new developments from Takuto!

The last talk was by myself on fmtutil and updmap, two of the main management programs in any TeX installation, presenting the changes introduced over the last year, including the most recent release of TeX Live. Details have been posted on my blog, and a lengthy article in TUGboat 38:2, 2017 is available on this topic, too.

After the conference about half of the participants joined a social dinner in a nearby Izakaya, followed by a after-dinner beer tasting at a local craft beer place. Thanks to Tatsuyoshi Hamada for the organization.

As usual, the Japanese TeX User Meetings are a great opportunity to discuss new features and make new friends. I am always grateful to be part of this very nice community! I am looking forward to the next year’s meeting.

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