[TxMt] Regarding the LaTeX bundle

Max Lein realoreocookie at gmx.de
Mon Sep 11 12:31:54 UTC 2006

First of all, one noob question: how do I make sure my mail is  
recognized as a reply to an existing post in the mailing list? I have  
tried clicking in the e-mail address on the mailing list page which  
automatically generates an e-mail with the correct header … but  
usually it isn't recognized as a reply to existing posts :-/

Thanks ;-)

 > > (i) I can provide you with a list of `official' LaTeX commands  
if needed.
 > >
 > > Obviously, something similar should be implemented in math mode as
 > > well (start with dark red which changes to red once a command is
 > > recognized).
 > allan: (i) I prefer that as well — if we can get a list, that’d  
 > great!
 > me: I agree too. Max (and anyone else as well), if you provide us
 > with the commands, for within math and out of math, then we'll add
 > them in.
Ok, I will compile a list over the course of the week. Basically, I  
will start by copying the standard commands from the various handbooks.

Please document how to add your own commands to that list! (E. g. I  
have created commands like \norm, \scpro (scalar product), \ket,  
\bra, \C, \R, etc.)

 > allan: (ii) this is because $ is a smart-typing pair, and it finds
 > that there is a “starting” $ outside the screen — not sure how
 > to best address that (probably we want to keep it a smart typing  
Definitely, definitely, definitely keep smart-pairing $s, it was my  
#1 syntax error with TeXShop and very tedious sometimes to find the  
erroneous line of code.

 > > (iii) Footnotes and marginpars should be marked within the text;
 > > perhaps the footnote's/marginpar's text could even be folded (not
 > > sure if automatic foldmark recognition works on a bundle level).
 > allan: (iii) marking: yes, folding: we can’t do w/o having the
 > braces align
 > me: The text in the footnote gets a scope of meta.footnote.latex
 > So if you add that scope to your coloring theme and add some color to
 > it, you'll get highlighted footnotes. Not immediately possible for
 > marginpars, but we are thinking of matching those as well and giving
 > them some scope extending both footnotes and marginpars, so that you
 > could color both of them at the same time.

Yes, it is immediately possible. I've just added marginpar to the  
footnote environment (so its scope is now both footnotes and  
marginpars alike), took about 10 seconds :-)

I already figured folding would be a more intricate matter.

 > Update: marginpars are now matched with scope
 > meta.paragraph.marginpar.latex, so you can color them as you like.
 > > (iv) Use input instead of include when dragging a .tex document
 > > into another: afaik include is deprecated and input is preferred
 > > instead. You cannot `include' some bundles for instance (diagxy
 > > comes to mind), you have to use input instead.
 > allan: (iv) probably then we should even markup include as
 > invalid.deprecated
 > me: I don't think \include is deprecated. I use \include for
 > different chapter of a book etc, and it does a number of special
 > things like clear all the floats, start on a new page, generate
 > separate aux files etc.

input also creates separate aux files. I just ran into some problems  
with include and have used input ever since. Page breaks are not a  
concern since I usually have separate files for each chapter -- the  
chapter command takes care of the page break.

 > Of course, you can easily change this in your own copy, by opening
 > the bundle editor and finding the appropriate drag command. All you
 > have to do is change the \\\\include that appears there to \\\\input.


 > > (v) Forget about the deprecated math environments `\[ … \]' and  
 > > ( … \)', just remove them from your bundle. Guidelines by  
 > > journals suggest to use specific environments anyway (align for
 > > instance).
 > allan: (v) I’m all for removing stuff, especially when  
deprecated ;)
 > me: I would need some stronger evidence that it is deprecated. As far
 > as I understand, the alternative to \( \) would be $ $, and I don't
 > see what advantages that has except that it is much harder to parse
 > the file looking for math in it, and if you miss one of the $ you
 > might not find out until much much later.
 > As for \[, \], I again don't think they are deprecated, but I would
 > love to be proven wrong. The only alternative I see is \begin
 > {equation*}, which requires the amsmath package. I might possibly
 > agree with you that in the context of writing math papers for
 > submission to journals, one might want to avoid \[, \], (though still
 > I would need to see some strong evidence for that), but I don't see
 > why I shouldn't be using it in the notes for my students for
 > instance. Replacing them all by \begin{equation*} is a single search
 > and replace anyway. (Note to self: Actually, having a command that
 > toggles the various math environments might not be a bad idea at  
I usually use align and align*. I have never personally used \[ … \]  
and I have seen only one person use it, and that person still writes  
his (brilliant) papers in plain TeX.

It doesn't really bother me if you keep it, but I just thought that  
we could very well eliminate everything which is superfluous in a way.

 > Do you have references to these guidelines of these journals
 > (including non-math/physics journals)?
One of the guidelines I use is the revtex guidelines which is used  
for a wide number of journals, including Phys. Rev. A-E and Phys.  
Rev. Lett.

 > > (vi) Inline formulas should have a grayish background so it's
 > > easier to see where formulas begin and where they end. (This one is
 > > also important to me.)
 > allan: (vi) that’d be a theme-thing, as long as the grammar marks
 > them up
 > me: Do you want the background for inline formulas to be different
 > than the one for multiline formulas? Because as things are already,
 > you can target the scope math.tex in your theme, and that would color
 > all math however you tell it to.
Yes, I want it to be different. I add a commented line above and  
below the align environment, i. e.
So I don't need any background. In either case, it is desirable to  
have different settings for inline formulas and displayed equations.

 > > (vii) You already have tab triggers for section, subsection and
 > > subsubsection, so how come chapter is missing?
 > allan: (vii) oversight (and we rarely need it)
 > me: Basically, initially we were trying to keep the number of
 > snippets at a bare minimum because of the way they were showing up in
 > the menu, as a flat list. On top of that, most of those can instead
 > be accomplished via the “Insert Command…” command, along with
 > customizing it through the LaTeX Configuration file, so the other
 > maintainers had a hard time even convincing me to keep the section
 > ones in. Now that we can create submenus, we've toyed with the idea
 > of adding more snippets, so any ideas on what other snippets to
 > include are welcome.
I know I can add it. However that is something I definitely think is  
missing. \chapter is one of the most basic commands in TeX and I  
would strongly suggest to add it.

 > > (viii) A way to execute bibtex (and pdflatex twice to see whether
 > > all additional citations have been included).
 > allan: (viii) latexmk.pl should do that — maybe we should make this
 > the default, not sure if that would bother anyone (maybe some
 > workflows would mean much more time typesetting)
 > me: latexmk.pl will actually do a lot more for you. The Help file
 > should describe how to set it up. I'd personally prefer not to have
 > it as the default. It is however easy to set it in your system.
I think I wasn't expressing myself clearly here: when you run bibtex  
via the LaTeX bundle, it does just that. However, I think it is a lot  
more useful if you actually pdflatex the document twice and display  
the document so you can check whether or not it worked.

 > > (ix) Closing environments: when I manually type \begin{environment}
 > > and then close the environment, the `\end{environment}' which is
 > > added is indented like the text within the environment. Hence,
 > > TextMate's code folding does not recognize the block.
 > allan: (ix) http://macromates.com/ticket/show?ticket_id=B34CCC0C --
 > the request might be granted, but use begin⇥ or ⌘{ until then
 > me: just follow the workaround suggested in that ticket (and most
 > importantly, don't manually type \begin{environment}).
No, I usually don't. But sometimes I need to break a displayed  
formula into two, I use that command.

 > > Now concerning the Help. The help is nicely structured, although I
 > > miss a nice webpage with the key features of your bundle. That
 > > would have helped me to use more of the functions included in your
 > > bundle.
 > Hm, that was actually partly our intent with rewriting the help file
 > this way. To make it easy to find out how to do stuff. Looking at the
 > bundle is of course the best way to find out what commands are
 > available. How is the help lacking in showing you what the bundle can
 > do?
 > >
 > > (i) A glossary of TM_LATEX_BLABLA variables. That would be really
 > > helpful, especially for people who just want to check out what you
 > > can do with the LaTeX bundle.
 > There are basically only five such variables, most of them having to
 > do with more particular workflow setups:
 > TM_LATEX_VIEWER       if you don't want to use the built in previewer
 > TM_LATEX_ERRLVL       if you want some finer control on what errors
 > show up
 > TM_LATEX_COMPILER     if you want to use latexmk.pl
 > TM_LATEX_OPTIONS      for any options you might want to add to the
 > command line call to the compiler.
 > and finally, TM_LATEX_MASTER, the only one of more frequent use, when
 > setting that a master document should be used for the compiling.

That needs to be documented in the form of a howto.

 > > (ii) Overview over key functions (auto completion of citations,  
 > Isn't the explanation in section 5.2 of the manual adequate for that?
 > In general that's the purpose of the entire section 5. In what ways
 > is that failing?
In the way that people like me don't read the help until section 5.2  
to discover new features. I know I sometimes should, but it's just  
the way it is. In this way, I would suggest to add one section in the  
very beginning (section 1.2 or so) about basic features. If they are  
hidden in section 5.2, fewer people will actually use them -- which  
is a pity.

I have given the help some more thought and I think that also one  
chapter about customizing the LaTeX bundle is missing. Somehow I  
haven't come across a good documentation on how to edit bundles,  
something like a HowTo is definitely missing.

For me, the most helpful kind of documentation is one that explains  
by example (e. g. Samba by Example). So I would suggest to write  
HowTo sections on `Getting Started', `Big LaTeX Projects',  
`Customizing The LaTeX Bundle'. I would be willing to make additions  
of my own.

Ok, that's all for now.


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