[texworks] Project Management type stuff

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at me.com
Sat Oct 16 10:33:28 CEST 2010

Le 15 oct. 2010 à 22:50, Paul A Norman a écrit :

> And I would generally agree with Peter about 'proper placement' of
> packages, but wonder in terms of helping new people onto LaTeX and
> what TeXworks can do to help and facilitate this, how we face the real
> world situations that Alain Schremmer writes about here, it seems that
> to some degree we are requiring people to become rocket scientists (no
> disrespect to our NASA colleagues) in order to produce a .pdf, they
> could have to learn a lot about their LaTeX distro management and
> tools first.
> This is a general question that will arrise as we want more perhaps
> less technically orientated people to have a wider access to LaTeX.

This is actually the first thought I had, but the other way round, when project management was mentioned here.

Project management is appropriate when you are writing a long, structured document, like a PhD thesis, a multi-author paper, or a scientific report. This implies more-or-less the user has prior experience with TeX.

On the other hand, project management just adds unnecessary burden and complexity when you are writing a one-shot document, like a letter, an invitation to a party, etc., and may be seen as an entry barrier for the novice.

On Mac OS X there were originally two TeX applications launched at about the same time, TeXShop and iTeXMac (the latter a spin-off of the former). TeXShop uses a no-nonsense user interface and has provided the inspiration for TeXworks, while iTeXMac is based on project management. TeXShop is very much alive and prosperous, while iTeXMac has been very quiet for quite some time.

Similarly, in the Mac OS Classic days, apart from Textures which was commercial software and CMacTeX which was a straightforward binary-by-binary Mac compilation of Web2C (and Jonathan's TeXgX which was shot full-flight by Apple's cancellation of QuickDraw GX and re-emerged years later as XeTeX), there were essentially two TeX shareware apps: OzTeX with a no-nonsense interface inspired by Textures and very similar to present-day TeXShop and TeXworks, and DirectTeX based on project management. OzTeX was licensed to several universities around the world and was the dominant non-commercial Mac TeX software of the time, while DirectTeX never really took off.

So, regarding TeXworks, I'd suggest that project management, if any, remains unobtrusive and does not imply modifications of the current user interface. I was originally rather adverse to scripting, for the same reasons, but was reassured by Jonathan's presentation at TUG 2010 that scripting is implemented in such a way that it does not clutter the TeXworks UI. It would be nice that project management, if any, does the same.

Bruno Voisin

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