[TxMt] TM & Latex

Mark Smith mark at bbprojects.net
Thu Apr 14 09:44:06 UTC 2005

Jeroen van der Ham wrote:

>This is very nice and all, but it kinda goes against the philosophy
>behind LaTeX, which is to seperate content from representation. So that
>you can focus on the content first and on the layout later.

>I know that everyone has used Word and is used to doing both at the same
>time. But LaTeX takes the layout of the whole document into account, so
>doing layout when you're halfway finished is a bit silly.

It sounds like you are making assumptions about how people use Flashmode and about which people use it.

(Background: Its an AppleScript application which communicates with an editor (e.g. BBEdit - TextMate is not supported yet) and the TeXniscope previewer.)

I believe that Flashmode is aimed at beginner to intermediate TeXnicians. I spent some time testing it in pre-release and I liked it (though since Claus released it at a time when I was really trying to move to ConTeXt wholesale, I have not licensed it (yet)).

For me, as an intermediate, the beauty is not in having flashmode running the whole time you are writing, right from the outset, but rather, you write your file, getting it (hopefully) mostly right. Then you turn on Flashmode and you take a look through the preview output. When you find things that you are not happy with, you can be taken straight back to the editor, make some changes and immediately (or after whichever time delay suits you) see the effect on the output without leaving the editor or having to issue any commands. Can be very helpful, for example in deciding where to split lines for aesthetic purposes or modifying table layouts etc.

You can stop flashmode at any time. You can adjust the frequency with which it runs your processing scripts. Have you never found yourself in a situation in TeX or LaTeX or ConTeXt where you have gotten into a:

        small adjustment
        process the file
        preview the file
        don't like it
        small adjustment
        process the file
        preview the file
        better, but still not perfect
        small adjustment
cycle ?

I have - and not only with TeXen. I can only imagine that its a rare coding God who wouldn't benefit from this at all.


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