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Re: Re: Which editor do you use for math articles

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg95561] Re: [mg95493] Re: Which editor do you use for math articles
  • From: Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at>
  • Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2009 06:49:11 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <> <gkscfe$eet$> <>

On 20 Jan 2009, at 11:45, Mariano Su=E1rez-Alvarez wrote:

> On Jan 19, 6:00 am, Andrzej Kozlowski <a... at> wrote:
>> On 18 Jan 2009, at 11:32, AES wrote:
>>> [Unless your TeX input has some error, in which case the typeset
>>> output
>>> will only appear up a point where the error occurs; a description 
>>> and
>>> explanation of the error will appear in a third "log window"  -- and
>>> hitting some other key combo will take you back to the input window
>>> **with the cursor positioned at the point or line where the error 
>>> was
>>> encountered".]
>>> This has been the case for many years.
>> Amazing. That means they must have produced a mind-reading version of
>> TeX that I am not aware of. In all versions that I know (and I have
>> been using TeX,LateX,Ams-Latex etc for decades) the cursor will 
>> appear not at the place where the error (for example a missing right 
>> brace })occurred but at the place where TeX first notices some inconsistency
>> with its syntax - which is almost never the place where the error
>> actually occurred. At that point you have got to manually find the
>> actual error, which can be far from simple. The only TeX
>> implementation that I know that partly gets around this problem is 
>> the Mac TeX system Textures (
> html
>> ), which continually typesets your output as you type (without the
>> need to hit any keys), which usually will make you aware of an error
>> as soon as it occurs rather than much later, when you try to typeset
>> the you course code. Moreover, Textures has several other nice
>> features that are implemented only imperfectly in other versions. But
>> there are major caveats - a Mac OS X version is still only in beta,
>> years after Mac OS X occurred, and Textures costs hundreds of 
>> dollars. 
>> But, and here is something anyone considering TeX should carefully
>> ponder upon. Before Mac OS X appeared, there were many persons
>> (including myself) willing to pay hundreds of dollars for Textures 
>> and more for regular upgrades, in spite of the fact that lots of free TeX
>> implementations have always existed on the Mac (I myself now use TeX
>> Shop with Japanese PTex engine). This was because TeXtures avoids the
>> huge amount of hassle that installing and using TeX is for any
>> beginner and even for an experienced user. Then Blue Sky, the company
>> that makes Textures, failed to come up with a Mac OS X compatible
>> version and most users reluctantly drifted away to other programs. 
>> But if you look mailing lists where TeX on Mac OS is discussed you will
>> find that many are intending to return (even though it will cost them
>> money) as soon as a full featured version is again available. Which
>> only proves that standard, free implementations of TeX are far form
>> the sort of thing some make them out to be. I strongly recommend you
>> to try TeX, but I suspect you will be soon back to using Mathematica
>> (if not Word).
> Have you tried installing TeXLive?
> -- m

Yes. It certianly makes keeping up to date with various packages 
easier, but I don't think it addresses the issues I mentioned and does 
not have the features Textures offers (or used to). Among these were:

1. Continuously updated preview
2. "Traffic light" - an interactive device that keeps you informed 
while you are typing if your input is syntactically correct (so you 
can catch errors as they occur
3. Synchronicity. Command-click on any text in the preview and you are 
taken to the corresponding point in your source code. Do the same to 
any word in the source code and you are taken to the right place in 
the preview.

This also works in TeXShop but very unpredictably: by command clicking 
in the preview you can be taken to a completely wrong place in the 
source code.

TeXtures is also a single application consisting both of a TeX engine 
and an editor, you could paste pictures directly into it and they 
appear in correct place in the typeset window, it works with color, it 
was extremely fast (much faster then any implementation of TeX I have 
ever tried on any platform. The original version for 68K Macs was 
written in Assembler, which probably contributed to the difficulties 
with subsequent changes in Apple's hardware and operating system).

This is just another example that the continual changes in computer 
technology are not necessarily all "progress". Mathematica is actually =

an exception and the new Dynamic capabilities are, in my opinion, an 
advance comparable to the invention of Desktop Publishing itself. Of 
course whether this really catches on or remains on of these brilliant =

and promising but never fully realized inventions, of which there are =

quite a few in the history of technology, remains to be seen.

Andrzej Kozlowski

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