[OS X TeX] New alpha Textures with support for graphics

Gary L. Gray gray at engr.psu.edu
Thu Jul 13 16:50:06 EDT 2006

On Jul 13, 2006, at 4:35 PM, AES wrote:

>> Just curious--what does Textures offer that TexShop et. al does  
>> not? I
>> tried to download a version to try, but apparently you already  
>> need to
>> be a registered customer. (This company charges $30 just to demo  
>> one of
>> its other products...)
> Warning: lengthy reply.
> Responding based on my 1-1/2 decade long experience with Textures on
> Mac OS 9 and earlier (my notes show I purchased Textures v 1.4 in
> July 1991 and I possibly had earlier versions before that) . . .
> And answering just "off the cuff" . . .
> For TeX users -- people who just wanted to do useful work with TeX ,
> without having to get involved in learning about and being confused
> by multiple options -- Textures offered:

I do lots of useful work with TeXShop and gwTeX and rarely have to  
mess with internals. The MacTeX package that has been so beautifully  
and thoughtfully created by the MacTeX working group (and is  
available on TUG's web site and on CTAN) is a one-click installer  
that gives you all what Textures does and more and requires *zero*  
configuration. What is so difficult about that?

> 1)  *One* single complete, fully integrated, highly functional, "load
> and go" package, from *one* source, and with *one* set of
> documentation, for *everything* needed to "do TeX" (and LaTeX) in
> a very full and complete fashion  [as contrasted to having to learn  
> about
> and sort out a complex array of packages, components, subcomponents,
> installers, etc, from multiple sources, with multiple documentation,
> and complex links, that even computer-literate TeX users can find
> intimidating and only UNIX devotees can really understand].

True, but this was also a severe limitation of Textures. It was  
difficult to add stuff and it wasn't 100% compatible with other TeXs  
(e.g., on Windows or Linux).

> 2)  *One* single articulate, detailed, very well-organized, very
> well-written, attractively printed and bound, highly readable,
> 213-page, well-indexed *manual* that supplied everything both a new
> Textures user and an experienced TeXpert needed to know, in a way
> both could easily access [as contrasted to a Help system readable
> only on line, with something like 60 or 70 individual help topics,
> each of which can only be navigated to and read one at a time, with
> no way to page through (or even print) the whole file at one go]
> [and that's only for TeXShop itself, not all the auxiliary TeX engine
> stuff and etc that you get with MacTeX and have to use in
> combination with TeXShop]


> 3)  Friendly and very helpful -- at least in my personal experience
> -- Blue Sky staff for any problems or questions that nonetheless
> arose.

That certainly wasn't my experience in that latter years I was using  
it. I bought it in 1989 or 1990 and for years I thought the support  
was superb. That changed in the late 90s, especially after they went  
"corporate" and brought in people who didn't seem to know a thing  
about TeX.

> 4)  On the features side, Textures provided:
> --I believe, pretty much everything that TeXShop offers, in  a
> very well done, and well integrated package.

This is simply not true. Where is autocompletion in Textures? Does  
Textures offer macros that search the file for all \labels so that  
they can be referenced?

> --Plus interface features like a very helpful "blue line" outline of
> the typeset area in the preview window, that changed shape with
>  changes in \hsize and \vsize.

TeXShop shows the edge of the page in a similar way.

> --And very well integrated (and well explained) graphics inclusion
> capabilities.

Yeah, but try and share those files with someone else who is not  
using Textures. I had no end of trouble sharing files with other  
users because of all of the "\specials" required by Textures.

> But, if Textures comes back to life in anything like its old form --
> as seems to be happening -- I'll absolutely be a paying customer.

That is your choice.

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