[OS X TeX] Various TeX programs on Mac

m mahakk at das-dock.de
Fri May 7 09:45:53 EDT 2004

Please excuse the brainstorming that occured while writing this mail. 
Sure messed up some... ;)

Am 07.05.2004 um 13:27 schrieb Bruno Voisin:

>> By integrating typesetting and preview in one window and optionally 
>> hiding the console, one can actually see how things are 
>> interconnected. It's much closer to an actual typesetting job.
>> This *may* go a bit against the "one document needs one 
>> window"-guideline, but let's face it: Beginners most certainly don't 
>> fully understand the fact that input and output are seperated *that 
>> much*. Especially when one gives examples a la "it's like HTML", 
>> since HTML is one file, and one file only -- it only gets interpreted 
>> differently depending on the app you're in (editor, viewer).
> I'm not sure I like the above idea. Possibly because I have grown, 
> TeXwise, so to say, with Textures, and thus the concept of a 
> multiwindow document is perfectly natural to me. Actually I like 
> TeXShop especially for being as close to Textures as it can get. Thus 
> I'm probably biased.
> What about all these ancillary files LaTeX likes so much? Like BibTeX 
> files. (Not the ones LaTeX produces, like .aux or .bbl files, but the 
> ones it uses, like .bib files.)

Dunno, what about them? :)
Are these extra-files one needs to edit? Haven't used BibTeX at all.

But like I said: This was just an idea. I actually tried to do this to 
my TeXShop installation, but I can't get magnification to work, can't 
get the document toolbar, and so on. But I got the PDF sitting next to 
my source, and it works pretty well. The console pops up (no drawer) a 
window, so it's very much like a "now processing" box.

I can only imagine how cool it would be to click on the pdf and have 
the source scroll to that line in the editor -- and vice versa. Add 
some highlighting to the lines (a la Xcode's errors and/or 
breakpoints), add some info-feedback ("You are here: Chapter X, second 
paragraph; and you're currently editing a command, silly"), and you'd 
have a working environment which by far surpasses the windowed 
approach. At least for beginners.

Jérôme made a point about small screens, and it's a valid one, of 
course. Though I could think of quite a lot of solutions to this 

> In HTML, when you view a page and ask for the source to be displayed, 
> the source is displayed in a separate window as well, in all the 
> browsers that I know of.
> I'm trying to think of an example of software where things are 
> displayed the way you propose, but for the moment I can't find any. 
> It's not quite the same as displaying thumbnails or a table of 
> contents in a sidebar or drawer, like Keynote, Preview, PowerPoint, 
> Reader, Acrobat or other applications do.

There may not be any software that does this, granted. Though I *think* 
that I've seen Macromedia's Dreamweaver display the code above the 
layout-view. SubEthaEdit in turn uses a second window for its 
live-preview of html. Guess they think of it as another view on the 
document you're editing, and are following guidelines here.

This *may* mean that it should not be done, but I doubt it. Because it 
may also mean that there is no such *process* involved with other 
documents. If you manipulate a picture, you're doing it *on* the 
preview. If you manipulate text, you're doing it on the preview. If 
you're manipulating a layout, you're also doing it on the preview. At 
least most of the time for all of the above. Even html can be edited on 
the preview nowadays (and it's different from TeX in that html-code 
gets interpreted "during runtime", so to say).

Whatever, from an interface standpoint (trying to come up with 
comparisons), editing TeX-code is like manipulating object data via a 
palette or via a dialog box. Hitting "Typeset" is like hitting "OK" or 

The *main* focus is the output, not the input.
The object being the PDF, its data being the code.

It's like adjusting format attributes in Quark or like manipulating 
layer settings in photoshop. This may seem strange to someone who has 
breathed TeX for years, and who feels that the main focus is the input 
(or the TeX source file), but this *may* explain some of the 
difficulties newbies have with the system. Even more so, if you think 
about why people are drwan to TeX: The output.

So I could also think of a preview window which has a code-palette 
attached. This would lead to other difficulties, though, like obscuring 
content, but one would have to see.

BTW: If you think about data-manipulation apps, then there are quite a 
lot of examples which hold both views (raw and processed) in one 
window. Or just think about any internet-forum, which lets you hit the 
"preview" button.

>> Any thoughts?
> Please no drawer (it seems to me in your screenshot that the console 
> is implemented as a drawer, right?). Personally I find them the 
> ultimate ugliness, and even Apple has given up on them in several 
> recent applications like Safari, iTunes, Keynote, using sidebars 
> instead. Actually the existence of the drawer in Mail is even making 
> me think at times about switching to Thunderbird. I hope that in Tiger 
> they will definitively become a thing of the past.

Yeah, drawers suck bad time, you're right.
They're just fun to watch slide open. :)


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