[OS X TeX] Replacements for xfig?

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Thu Nov 25 06:03:42 EST 2004

Le 25 nov. 04, à 02:17, Gerben Wierda a écrit :

> Hey, I used to have Mathematica on my NeXT (hardly ever used it). 
> Maybe Wolfram can send me a free upgrade, and I'll see to it that the 
> integration with my TeX distribution works ;-)

I've been in contact with a person at Wolfram Research, Dr Michael 
Trott (the lead developer of the Wolfram Functions site), who has just 
released a set of books on programming and graphics in Mathematica 
<<http://www.mathematicaguidebooks.org/>. The production notes for the 
book mention a complicated Mathematica -> TeX -> Mathematica route:

> 0.7 Production History
> The original set of notebooks was developed in the 1991–1992 academic 
> year on an Apple Macintosh IIfx with 20 MB RAM using Mathematica 
> Version 2.1. Over the years, the notebooks were updated to Mathematica 
> Version 2.2, then to Version 3, and finally for Version 4 for the 
> first printed edition of the Mathematica GuideBooks. The electronic 
> component has been updated to be compatible with Mathematica 5. The 
> first step in creating them was the translation of a set of Macintosh 
> notebooks used for lecturing and written in German into English by 
> Larry Shumaker. This was done primarily by a translation program and 
> afterward by manually polishing the English version. Then the 
> notebooks were transformed into TEX  files using the program nb2tex on 
> a NeXT computer. The resulting files were manually edited, equations 
> prepared in the original German notebooks were formatted with TEX , NO 
> COMMA and macros were added corresponding to the design of the book. 
> (The translation to TEX was necessary because Mathematica Version 2.2 
> did not allow for book-quality printouts.) They were updated and 
> refined for nearly three years, and then Mathematica 3 notebooks were 
> generated from the TEX  files using a preliminary version of the 
> program tex2nb. Historically and technically, this was an important 
> step because it transformed all of the material of the GuideBooks into 
> Mathematica expressions and allowed for automated changes and updates 
> in the various editing stages. (Using the Mathematica kernel allowed 
> one to process and modify the notebook files of these books in a 
> uniform and time-efficient manner.) Then, the notebooks were expanded 
> in size and scope and updated to Mathematica 4. In the second half 
> [[of the year]] 2003, the Mathematica programs of the notebooks were 
> revised to work with Mathematica 5. A special set of styles was 
> created to generate the actual PostScript as printouts from the 
> notebooks. All inputs were evaluated with this style sheet, and the 
> generated Postscript was directly used for the book production. Using 
> a little Mathematica program, the index was generated from the 
> notebooks (which are Mathematica expressions), containing all index 
> entries as cell tags.


- It mentions the existence of two programs nb2tex and tex2nb, which 
were unknown to me.

- The mathematical typesetting capabilities of Mathematica, which had 
been lagging behind TeX for quite some time in the past, are advocated 
to have to some extent caught up (at least for the kind of mathematical 
writing in the above books). On the assumption that Publicon 
<http://www.wolfram.com/products/publicon/>, already evoked on this 
list, is essentially Mathematica's editor and formatting engine without 
the mathematical calculation machinery, then this might indicate 
Publicon would allow relatively sophisticated mathematical typesetting 
(with XML compatibility).

In any case the above is probably biased, as I've been a devoted, 
though clueless, Mathematica user for about 12 years.

Bruno Voisin
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