[OS X TeX] Textures (Universal binary) is now in beta

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Tue Sep 4 13:00:28 EDT 2007

Le 16 août 07 à 00:04, Bruno Voisin a écrit :

> Le 15 août 07 à 21:31, Gary L. Gray a écrit :
>
>> http://www.bluesky.com/news/220b.html
>>
>> [...]
>>
>> I am sure many on the list would love to hear what it's like from
>> anyone who tries it out.
>
> After trying it out very quickly: [...]

A more complete report, this time after more intensive use.

A few weeks ago I ended up using Textures to write a communication
"primitive" for now, and because of that I wasn't planning to spend
more than a couple of minutes trying out Textures for fun and then
moving back to TeXShop for work. However, during this try-out I was
so pleased with and impressed by the speed of typesetting and the
convenience of Flash Mode, and Textures was such a joy to use, that I
finally wrote the whole communication with it.

The result can be viewed online, after printing to a PDF file, it's
at <http://www.legi.hmg.inpg.fr/~voisin/papers/iseh5.pdf>. It's
nothing spectacular, just an illustration that Textures can be used
for typesetting relatively serious maths, using fonts other than
Computer Modern (here MathTime) and including figures. Everything
displays fine on the Mac; a colleague of mine reported the Symbol
characters included in some figures -- prepared with Illustrator --
are replaced by empty boxes on his Russian Windows XP setup, I
suspect an encoding problem but had no time to look into it.

The two things that I found most inconvenient in the editor:

- The absence of wrapping functionality, either soft or hard. Having
neither wrap-as-you-go nor wrap-selected-text, and being forced
instead to introduce manual end-of-lines, was annoying.

- Something I hadn't realized I had got used to: spell check. I
hadn't realized it, but after years of use of TeXShop, Mail and other
similar OS X applications, I had got used to see typos underlined in
red immediately. It would be nice to be able to use the standard OS X
spell check functionality in Textures, and even better to use
CocoAspell (so that the spell check would be LaTeX-aware).

Miscellanea:

- The default text size (10 pt, in Monaco) is a bit hard on my eyes,
I used

defaults write com.bluesky.Textures TextFontSize 12

to change it to 12 pt. For some reason, anti-aliasing isn't applied
the same way to Monaco 10 pt in the built-in editors of TeXShop (no
anti-aliasing for this particular font and size) and Textures (anti-
aliasing). As the result Monaco 10 pt ends up all blurred and smeared
to my eyes in Textures, with 12 pt looking slightly better. If I
remember correctly a similar issue was raised in the early days of
Safari <http://daringfireball.net/2003/03/antiantialiasing>, with
Dave Hyatt finally deciding not to anti-alias small sizes in Safari.

- In Flash Mode, when typesetting silently fails the preview window
is brought back to the page before the error occurred, and after the
error is fixed in the input window and typesetting succeeds you've
got to manually switch back to the page were the error was. This
seems a very minor point, but when this happens every 5 minutes or so
it gets a bit annoying. Especially since, in Flash Mode, typing in a
\label or \ref induces an error, until matching \label and \ref have
been input finally.

- Cmd-Click on the window name (at the top of a window) doesn't
reveal the folder hierarchy leading to the file being open in this
window, as normally happens on OS X.

- If an image being included in the input window -- through
\includegraphics say -- is modified in an external application --
Illustrator say -- and saved, and the input file re-typeset in
Textures, nothing happens: Textures isn't aware the image has been
modified. You need to quit Textures, then re-open it, for the change
in the image file to be noticed.

- Because the settings specific to an input file are not saved with
this file for the moment, if you open two input files simultaneously,
one based on LaTeX and the other on plain TeX, you'll have to select
manually the appropriate format in the Typeset menu before switching
to either of them.

Finally, in a preceding message of mine I mentioned a problem with
Lucida:

> - Virtual fonts seem to work well. I only noted ligatures missing
> with Lucida fonts (the lowercase fi and fl), but for Computer
> Modern and Times/MathTime as well as PSNFSS this problem doesn't
> appear.

Actually the problem had nothing to see with virtual fonts. It was
elucidated by the Textures team: in my home directory in ~/Library/
Fonts I had TrueType Lucida fonts installed by Microsoft Office, and
they were taking precedence over the PostScript Lucida fonts that I
had purchased years ago from Blue Sky Research and installed in /
Library/Fonts. Unfortunately, these MS fonts seem to have issues
regarding Unicode support. I'm no specialist on font matters, and
I've not fully understood what the problem was. According to the
Textures team, regarding the MS Lucida fonts:

> The fonts in
> that package have unusual PostScript glyph name tables,
> e.g., the entries for 'fi' and 'fl' are instead 'uniF001'
> and 'uniF002'. This causes problems for Textures' font
> (re-)encoding, because the expected 'fi' and 'fl' glyph
> names are not present.

In any case, the solution was very simple: open Font Book, notice
that there were two Lucida font sets (one coming from Microsoft and
not including the Lucida NewMath math fonts, the other coming from
Blue Sky Research and including the Lucida NewMath math fonts), and
disactivate the former.

Two more things which are very convenient with Textures, and bring
back some of the feeling of its use on pre-System 7 Macs:

- Transparent inclusion of EPS figures. They are converted on-the-fly
to whichever format is used internally, and displayed in the preview
window.

- Transparent font inclusion. Lucida and MathTime fonts work out-of-
the-box.

Bruno Voisin