[OS X TeX] Various TeX programs on Mac

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Fri May 7 11:35:41 EDT 2004

Le 7 mai 04, à 15:45, m a écrit :

>> 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.

I don't use BibTeX either, but yes, according to the LaTeX manual, .bib 
files are separate files (bibliographic databases) you have to write 
and provide to LaTeX, or rather BibTeX. They are written in a special 
syntax specific to BibTeX.

You run LaTeX once on your .tex or .ltx file to produce a .aux file, 
then BibTeX on the .aux file. Based on the data in this file, BibTeX 
takes out the relevant bibliographic data out of the .bib file and 
generates a .bbl file which contains but the thebibliography 
environment to be included in the .tex or .ltx file. Running LaTeX a 
second time on this .tex or .ltx file produces the desired output.

>> 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).
> [snip]
> 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.

Manipulating directly the TeX code from the Preview window would more 
or less amount, again, to reinvent LyX or TeXmacs, I think.

> 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.

Yes, this is like the way WYSIWYG HTML-editing applications work 
(Mozilla Composer, Nvu, or even the HTML Editor that was included in OS 
X Public Beta --- why did they remove it? It was buggy, but most 
applications in Public Beta were anyway).

A problem with this approach is that you cannot view both the input and 
the output at the same time, and I find such simultaneous view quite 
useful: you change some code in the input, hit Typeset, and see whether 
the output view is changed.

Examples of such use: comment out ends-of-lines in user-defined 
commands in LaTeX, to see if they do not create trailing spaces 
affecting the output; or check whether inserting a \leavevmode or \null 
somewhere, or replacing \vspace{1cm} by \vspace*{1cm}, does not remove 
some unwanted vertical space (I found one of the most difficult issues 
in TeX is determining whether you're in horizontal or vertical mode, or 
paragraph or left-to-right mode in LaTeX).

Back to the analogy with HTML editing, I just checked in BBEdit, which 
is more oriented towards producing correct HTML code, not towards 
WYSIWYG. It works pretty much like the current TeX front-ends: you 
write the HTML code, possibly using the very convenient Markup menu 
(essentially a macros menu), then select "Preview in BBEdit", and a new 
window pops up containing the preview.


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