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Re: How to write a "proper" math document

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg120018] Re: How to write a "proper" math document
  • From: AES <siegman at stanford.edu>
  • Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2011 05:12:27 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <ius5j1$2e6$1@smc.vnet.net>

In article <ius5j1$2e6$1 at smc.vnet.net>, dr DanW <dmaxwarren at gmail.com> 
wrote:

> Pulling back from the meta-issue of literate engineering, this is the second 
> time in as many months the topic of hiding cells for publishing documentation 
> has come up in this forum.  I think I will experiment a little with using 
> cell tags to mark cells for hiding (closing) so switching between the 
> development and publishing layout is just a button click.  If I come up with 
> something I am happy with, I'll post it under a new thread.
> 
> Daniel

I would be delighted to see this, and think it would be a very useful 
contribution.

Let me add what I think would be an even more useful -- but I suppose 
considerably more difficult -- Mathematica add-on.

This add-on would comprise: 

1)  A way to capture an executed notebook, including all its output 
cells (that is, everything you see on the screen as you scroll through a 
notebook, once that notebook has been executed) -- in other words a 
simple Save;

2)  Then a way to run this captured notebook through a totally separate 
post-processor program, written in whatever, that would convert this 
notebook file into a "touch-up-able" TeX (or LaTex) source file;

3)   And then, a few steps of hand touch up of this TeX source file, as 
needed, followed by running it through TeX or LaTeX to create a polished 
PDF document.

A first, relatively trivially step toward this goal would be to simply 
capture the ASCII text content of each cell in the executed document and 
insert it as the content of a correspondingly named macro in the TeX 
source file.

That is, each Text cell would be embedded in a \text{---} macro, each 
level of Header cell in a \headerlevelnn{---} macro, and so on.  We 
TeXperts (or even TeXNovices) could then define our own \text{} and 
\header{} macros to get the fonts, styles, spacings, and so on that we 
would want for our document.  Just doing this could vastly improve page 
breaks, text formatting, and so on.

A second step would be to capture the content of each Output graphics 
cell in the notebook as a graphics file in PDF, JPG, PNG, or whatever 
format; stick this file in the same folder as the primary TeX source 
file with a name like "graphictwo.pdf"; and insert a line in the primary 
TeX source file saying something like

   \graphic{graphictwo.pdf}

We TeXNovices could then define our own \graphic{} macro to \input this 
graphic, float the graphic to the top of the page, or whatever we wanted 
to do with it.  (We could also hand-edit the graphic file itself in 
Illustrator, should be want to.)

A third step would be a series of tweaks in which the post-processor 
program, in addition to doing steps one and two, would make more 
sophisticated conversions of the "innards" of text and header cells, 
converting Greek letters and the like from Mathematica notation to TeX 
notation, and in general doing anything that could be automated to 
convert Mathematica syntax to TeX syntax.

This approach of course violates the basic Wolfram concept of do 
everything -- and they really do mean *everything* -- with one tool.  
I've never believed in this myself; use the right tool for the job is 
more like my motto.  And, the more experience I have with Mathematica 
(and TeX) (and other software tools), the more I come to believe in 
this. Some others agree; others don't.


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