[OS X TeX] TeXniscope speed [was XeTeX sources]

Massimiliano Gubinelli mgubi at mac.com
Wed Dec 1 09:33:30 EST 2004

On 1 Dec 2004, at 3:12, Geoff Vallis wrote:

> I actually find TeXniscope very fast, even on long documents, although 
> not quite as fast as xdvi. One thing that seems to slow it down is 
> that (when previewing a dvi file) it converts any EPS graphics to PDF 
> graphics using ps2pdf. This makes it slower than just using pdflatex 
> from the outset. If the PDF graphic already exists, there should be no 
> need to do this conversion. Could Texniscope not be made aware of 
> pre-existing PDF files and just display them if so?
> This issue unintentionally doesn't arise in v0.32, because Texniscope 
> can't always follow the path to EPS graphics specified in the source 
> document, so it gives up and and moves on! This may be the reason that 
> Bruno (I think it was he) could not get Texniscope to display graphics 
> properly, when previously he had it working.

I still have to experiment but all this small glitches should really 
depend on dvipdfmx and I will try to fix them in the next few releases. 
As for speed there is a small trick which I used to make "perceived" 
speed higher. the first time TeXniscope read a dvi document it 
translates to PDF only 10 pages or so around the current page (or the 
first then pages), after that it starts a background process to 
complete the translation of all the paper. This make the first page 
appear soon and usually this is what matters. I think it can be made at 
least 2 times faster if some strategy can be found to use TeX fonts in 
I'v tried the following strategy which partially works: I can make a 
PDF without embedding fonts (which takes a lot of time) then this PDF 
is passed to the rendering engine and it is drawn. Of course the system 
looks for the missing fonts and I provide the fonts in otf format to 
This works partially but I cannot match the different encodings (I do 
not have enough knowledge) so mathematical fonts and other characters 
do not show up properly. I think this strategy can be made to work and 
it will improve the viewer speed by factor 2 (at least) in normal 
But much work is still to be done...

> However, and needless to say, its a very nice product. After years of 
> using xdvi, and trying various other products, I now use TeXniscope 
> (along with Joachim's nice tetexcomm package for Alpha, and the two 
> make a virtually seamless package).
> Geoff
>> Subject: Re: [OS X TeX] XeTeX sources?
>> From: "Massimiliano Gubinelli" <mgubi at mac.com>
>> Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 12:11:04 +0100
>> I started to write TeXniscope as a dvi previewer with in mind to have 
>> a
>> fast viewer (i.e. responsive so that changes to the source can be
>> reflected as soon as possible in the preview). This is possible as the
>> experience with TeXview (on NeXT, people always report that to be a
>> great program) or xdvi (which is very fast, IMO). Unfortunately it is
>> not so easy to draw TeX fonts on the MacOSX with good quality (as
>> MacDviX e.g. shows). Ideally one should be able to use the intrinsic
>> PDF support to draw Type1 fonts directly but Apple does not provide a
>> sufficiently rich interface to its PDF rendering engine (as NeXT had
>> when working with Display PostScript). My strategy up to now has been
>> to hack dvipdfm to be used inside the viewer as an interface between
>> the dvi format and the graphics driver but it still require much work.
>> For example one of the difficulty is that Quartz does not allow to use
>> incremental PDF which would be great for parsing pages as they come 
>> out
>> from TeX....
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