[texworks] Early thoughts

Jonathan Kew jonathan at jfkew.plus.com
Fri Sep 19 22:28:35 CEST 2008

On 19 Sep 2008, at 8:54 PM, Dave Crossland wrote:

> 2008/9/19 Bruno Voisin <bvoisin at me.com>:
>> Le 18 sept. 08 à 14:26, Jonathan Kew a écrit :
>>> On 18 Sep 2008, at 1:17 PM, Will Robertson wrote:
>>>> (5) As well as command completion, I'd like automatic trigger  
>>>> stuff.
>>>> E.g., typing \begin{ on an otherwise empty line would immediately
>>>> insert an \end{ on the next line and then fill in both environment
>>>> delimiters at the same time as you typed the name of the  
>>>> environment.
>>>> Editing one of them would edit the other, simultaneously.
>>> Yes, that'd be slick.
>> Please don't. ... Or at least provide the user with a single
>> switch to suppress all these clever additions.

It's clear that there are widely varying points of view about this  

Bruno, don't worry: I expect to keep the default TeXworks behavior  
pretty simple and clean. I'm not opposed to "assistive editing"  
tricks, but I do think these are an "optional extra" that users should  
explicitly choose, if they wish to use them.

The existing "command completion" is one example of this: it's  
available, but it doesn't interfere with typing in any way (like some  
auto-complete mechanisms might); it only takes effect when explicitly  
requested via the Esc key.

>> There are users who like such additions. But there are also old- 
>> style users
>> like me who want an editor to type exactly what they instruct it to  
>> type, no
>> more no less, to select exactly what they used their mouse to  
>> select, no
>> more no less.

I tend to lean this way, but I suspect this is partly because I am not  
actually *writing* large amounts of (La)TeX material. If I were,  
perhaps I'd become accustomed to various "shortcuts", but as a low- 
volume user I find it easiest to just type exactly what I want.

> TeXWorks seems to me to be aimed at the former, and the latter are
> also the kind of users who are capable of reading the relevant part of
> the documentation and editing a configuration/preferences file where
> the auto-instruction behaviour is specified, and commenting out all
> the lines they don't want.

I suppose this is true; on the other hand, there's a danger that the  
naive user -- who might benefit from environment templates, etc -- may  
be overwhelmed and confused by too much "assistance". Perhaps it's not  
a bad thing if users first learn that LaTeX uses
   \item .....
by typing it all themselves, before discovering that the editor can  
produce this from just a few keystrokes.

Before anyone asks: No, there will NOT be a little paperclip that pops  
up and says "it looks like you're typing an itemized list; would you  
like me to help?" :-)


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