[texworks] Earlier thoughts

Jérome Laurens jerome.laurens at u-bourgogne.fr
Sun Sep 21 11:42:55 CEST 2008


Jonathan says that TeXWorks is meant for newbies, it is an excellent  
starting point.
It is not hard to be convinced that no environment exists for newbies,
even TeXShop.

Newbies don't need command completion nor command shortcuts, they need  
to know what is the command to enter, and more generally what to do.
Turning TeXWorks into some sort of TeXWord with popups like "it looks  
like you're typing an itemized list; would you like me to help?"
does not seem very efficient ;-)
But an assistant that can answer FAQs like "How can I enter an  
itemized list?", "How do I underline text?", "How can I include an  
image?"  is absolutely necessary for newbies.
Of course, many Faqs exist here and there but it is not easy to use  
When googling "How can I include an image in LaTeX?", we find many  
different pages with different approaches.
For example we can even learn that TeXShop is a compiler and that  
Scientific Word is an extension of Word...
It would be great to have only one reliable doc for that in TeXWorks.

IMO, the best media would be some kind of help book with visual  
enhancements, that we can browse by topic or with a search engine.
It would be great to have an online wiki mirrored inside TeXWorks (and  
other apps as well)

According to the "Not so short introduction to LaTeX", someone can  
learn LaTeX basic facts in 107 minutes.
Except that it is a bad joke or just a word wild record, it highlights  
the fact that a LaTeX user is loosing its newbie status rather rapidly.
It means that if a user interface is tied to newbies, it will become  
rapidly obsolete.
Then people will have to change their editor after say 1 year.
I hear the comment : "Do not try to learn TeX with TeXWorks, it is far  
too limited, you will have to change after 6 months."

Here is my feature request:

- two modes for the UI (a la Microsoft Word, yes they also have good  
one lite mode for newbies where very complicated things are hidden,  
and checkbox(es) in the preferences to switch between lite more and  
advanced mode.
It can also be TexWorks Lite vs TeXWorks.
- in advanced mode, preset support for external text editors (with  
synchronization support of course, BTW does TeXShop support  
synchronization with external editors now?)
  this is for really advanced users that love emacs.
- plugins and scriptability to extend the editor, customize the  
viewer, add scm support, add palettes, inspectors...

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