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Re: Sticky Previews? Mathematica Export, Illustrator, and Textures

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  • Subject: [mg30707] Re: [mg30662] Sticky Previews? Mathematica Export, Illustrator, and Textures
  • From: AES <siegman at>
  • Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2001 02:24:01 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Dear Dale,

I think we're in entire agreement on the points in our earlier
exchange (appended below), with just a couple of wrap-up notes:

1)  Seems to be agreed that re-Exporting from Mathematica to an
existing file (on the Mac) doesn't erase and re-create the file, just
rewrites the data fork, leaving the resource fork unchanged.

Question is : Is handling it this way a good or a bad decision?

I can see arguments both ways.  Some users might want to repeatedly
rewrite the data fork of a file, leaving certain resources unchanged
(though I can't personally think of reasons why anyone would want to).

On balance, however, I suggest it's the *wrong* way.  As illustrated
here, it can certainly leave the EPS and the preview seriously out of
sync.  Suppose the file is then sent to another user, who has no idea
of this, or is stored on HD and brought back much later.  Opening the
file in many apps can display a seriously wrong preview, leading to
serious confusion (including looking at the preview only, saying,
"Hey, obsolete file", and trashing the whole file, including the good
EPS part)..

More seriously, readers of comp.risks will be very familiar with real
horror stories associated with, for example, Word documents sent out
as email attachments, thinking they contain only the final form of a
document, without realizing that earlier drafts, comments, notes --
possibly embarrassing, even incriminating -- are also still in the
file, and may be carried along with it.

This glitch in Mathematica's "Export" behavior may not be quite as
serious as that -- but it has similar potentials.

2)  With respect to EPSI and EPSTIFF, the "Textures" implementation
of TeX on the Mac (which I'll say again is a very good program)
apparently can't see either of those previews,and needs instead (I
believe) a PICT preview.  This may be something for its authors to
solve -- but Wolfram's adding an "EPSPICT" format would be another
possible, and very helpful, solution.


At 3:20 PM -0500 9/5/01, Dale Horton wrote:

>At 07:32 PM 9/3/2001, aes wrote:
>>There appears to be something odd that goes on with  Mathematica,
>>Illustrator, Textures, and image previews.
>>1)  I create a Mathematica notebook which creates a simple plot and
>>Exports it to HD in EPS format under file name "testPlot".  Also create
>>a Textures TeX source file which imports this image file and displays it
>>  \special{illustration testPlot scaled 1000}
>>(Textures is Blue Sky's very nice implementation of TeX for the
>>2)  Run the Mathematica notebook:  "testPlot" file appears on HD, 
>>with an Mathematica
>All files generated by the Mathematica kernel are of type TEXT/OMEG.
>>3)  Typeset the Textures source file, and print the typeset file.  Image
>>does not display in typeset window on screen, but does print OK, as
>Typeset probably cannot render EPS directly. It needs a bitmap 
>preview to render on screen. The printer does know how to render the 
>EPS so it prints fine.
>>3)  Open "testPoot" file in Illustrator (7.0), make no changes, just
>>immediately Save As Illustrator EPS  under same name with "Create
>>thumbnail" option checked.    testPlot icon changes to Illustrator icon.
>The "thumbnail" is probably a bitmap preview of the EPS. Illustrator 
>also changes the type.
>>4)  Run the unchanged Textures source file: image now appears in typeset
>>document on screen and prints OK.
>>5)  Re-run the Mathematica notebook, re-creating and re-exporting 
>>the same plot
>>under same name:  "testPlot' icon on HD changes back to Mathematica icon.
>Same as above.
>>6)  Re-run Textures source file:  image *continues* to appear in typeset
>>window on screen, and prints OK.
>This indicates to me that the preview is not stored in the data 
>fork, but the resource fork of the file. The Mathematica kernel does 
>not alter the resource fork of a file. It only writes to the data 
>>7)  Quit Textures, then re-open Textures and Textures source file and
>>again re-run it:  image *still* appears on screen, as well as printing
>>8)  Go to Mathematica notebook, change the plot (add another curve to it),
>>Export changed plot, but under same name.
>>9)  Re-run Textures source file:  The *old* (original) plot still
>>appears on screen, but the *new* (changed) plot prints.
>>10)  Quit Textures; re-open and re-run Textures source file:  Textures
>>typeset document *still* displays the *old* image on screen, but prints
>>the *new* changed document.
>>I suppose the most reasonable interpretation of this is that, however
>>the Mathematica Export command handles the re-creating of a HD 
>>file, the preview
>>image created by Illustrator somehow "sticks" to the re-created file --
>>and the old preview even sticks to a new, changed EPS file.  However,
>>that's beyond my level of computer expertise.
>Try Exportting the EPS with a preview in the data fork. "EPSI" and 
>"EPSTIFF" formats do this. Then, you shouldn't need to use 
>Illustrator at all.

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