The Fall 2021 LaTeX release is available

As we have announced previously, we have shifted the release dates for LaTeX slightly, to better align with the yearly release of TeX Live: a first release in May/June after TeX Live has updated and a second release around November.

The current release does not contain any major new modules, but is focused around consolidation and improvements of functionality introduced in previous releases. In the meantime we are working further on the future production of reliable tagged PDF output (see the article LaTeX Tagged PDF — A blueprint for a large project that describes the project we are engaged in), which will again take center stage in the Spring release 2022.

Hook management improvements

There have been some improvements of the hook management as a result of feedback from developers and our own experience applying the new functionality. This includes one breaking change in behavior (relevant only to package developers), for which we offer compatibility code for now. Thus nothing will break right now, but going forward the new method needs to be used, because at some point in the future the compatibility code will be taken out.

  • Standardizing generic hook names;
  • Rationalizing the behavior of \RemoveFromHook;
  • Providing \ActivateGenericHook;
  • Providing a command to clear “next” hook code before invocation;
  • Properly clean up after a one-time hook.

New or improved commands

There are many enhancements and corrections that we documented in the ltnews article for this release (and a few very minor ones that only made it into the changes.txt file). The most important aspects from a user perspective are:

  • Extending \ShowCommand to show commands defined with \NewDocumentCommand and friends;
  • Extending \NewCommandCopy as well, to safely copy such commands to new names;
  • Improving the math font family allocation to avoid running out of available math groups in complex documents. A number of math alphabets (controlled through the counter localmathalphabets) are now locally allocated and their math groups can be reused with different alphabets per formula;
  • Adding \PackageNote and \PackageNoteOnLine to show notes that aren’t “warnings” on the terminal;
  • Supporting an alt key with \includegraphics (anticipating future development);
  • Providing a new \newcolumn command and an optional argument to \columnbreak for multicol;
  • Altering the default for \tracinglostchars.

But read the whole ltnews article because there may be other gems that are useful for you.

Where to learn more …

The new features and most of the important bug fixes made in this release are documented in “LaTeX2e News Issue 34”. This document can be found on the LaTeX2e news page where you will also find release information for earlier LaTeX releases.

Happy LaTeXing — Frank