[OS X TeX] Flashmode - a review
gerhardt at math.uni-heidelberg.de
Wed Apr 20 20:03:45 EDT 2005
The last four month I have been texing a lot always using Flashmode and
comparing its variants till I settled for my favourite. I would like to
give an overview of my experiences trying to be as objective as
Since in my view Flashmode has no inherent value but is simple a tool
for enhancing comfort and productivity, judging its virtues requires to
take its interaction with other tools into account most notably with
pdfsync and with a pdf viewer.
Given these objectives it first seemed that the iTeXMac/iTeXMac version
was the best. Synchronization in iTeXMac is simply the best and its
built in pdf viewer allows a much better navigation than TeXniscope -
T. strength is its scriptability, or more precisely, Massimilianos
generosity to let us know the necessary commands. Its great
disadvantage are the poor navigation capabilities like scrolling, fast
browsing with the sliding knob, etc. (Preview is excellent in this
Unfortunately, the pdf viewer and the editor do not work independently
from each other in iTM, and if the document has more then 20 pages
using the editor will be painful when Flashmode is active.
Thus I had to give up iTM/iTM and used BBEdit/TeXnsicope. Pdf to source
synchronization works fine, as good as in iTM; the source to pdf
synchronization is not as excellent but sufficient with the help of my
scrypt sync which can be invoked via a shortcut key. Editor and viewer
are working independently by the very set-up and Flashmode worked fast
and smoothly. Even chapters with 70+ pages were acceptable in speed.
Editing in conjunction with pdfsync was a charm, and having multiple
copies of Flashmode running, at one point all seven copies were active,
one for each chapter, was fine - it wasn't noticeable at all.
I tried the TeXShop/TeXniscope version only briefly. Its main shortfall
is, that in contrast to BBEdit, the sync script for source --> pdf
doesn't work properly, because TeXShop doesn't let me know the current
line number of the cursor's position.
Thus, BBEdit/T. has become my favourite version and it seems that two
independent engines for viewer and editor are a necessity when using
Flashmode, which doesn't mean that viewer and editor have to belong to
different applications, but if they are part of one application then
they must be driven by independent engines.
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