I am quite new here, I noticed that there is not LaTeX here in Database Administrators, is there any reason for that? or maybe it will be better if we could use LaTeX. e.g to write stuff like that (Relational Algebra): enter image description here


EDIT: here a small taste about LaTeX power, making tables easly and many many more.

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    Why does it need LaTex? Are there any posts that need this special formatting? I don't think I've ever seen a post on Database Administrators that would need this. – Taryn Feb 5 '16 at 19:53
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    @bluefeet One case is illustrated in the picture - relational algebra. Questions that would benefit massively from this are fairly rare though, in my estimation. – Paul White 9 Feb 5 '16 at 19:56
  • @PaulWhite Ok, but is this being posted in questions/answers on the site enough to have this available? I don't think I've seen any posts that this would be needed on. Maybe an example or two would be helpful. – Taryn Feb 5 '16 at 19:58
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    Do any of the other SE sites have some sort of intrinsic LaTeX support? – ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Feb 5 '16 at 21:57
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    @ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Sure, Mathematics and also Computer science ,maybe more – 3SAT Feb 5 '16 at 22:00
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    If LaTeX support can be activated easily it might be a way to get tables to render on dba.se. – ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Feb 5 '16 at 23:17

No. I don't think we need LaTeX here.

  • There aren't enough questions where it would be necessary.
  • There is also the page rendering overhead to consider.

For very simple cases e.g. πR(R ⋈ S) as in my answer here, the normal character set is adequate.

On the odd occasion where e.g. complex relational algebra is required, an image should suffice:


The above was generated using this tool, mentioned in this meta.SE answer.

-- Source
\Pi_{A,B}(\sigma_{r.C=s.C})(r \times s)\otimes\sigma_{D > 20}(s))

(That is my first ever effort at LaTeX formatting)

There is also mathurl.com and probably many others.

If it were a "simple checkbox" to enable this for Database Administrators without any consequences at all, I'd probably say "yeah, OK, why not" but I don't think that is the case.

The case is clearly pretty compelling for sites like Mathematics, but not here.

To address a point brought up in a comment to the question, I don't think this is the solution for the 'tables' issue either (assuming for a moment that it is an issue). How many people that currently struggle with an ASCII table (or other workaround) would be able to generate the required LaTex? Not many, I would suggest.

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  • It is hard to me to accept the answer because I think that LaTex is needed, very nice answer though. – 3SAT Feb 8 '16 at 10:18
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    This could be turned on, however enabling MathJax comes with a heavy dependency. While Database Administrators isn't the size of sites like Stack Overflow, there is a significant performance impact by enabling it. Nick Craver wrote this up in detail on MSO. If the community wants it, we can still do it, you just need to be aware that there are issues. – Taryn Feb 12 '16 at 13:00

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