[texworks] Wishlist for pdf previewer

Jonathan Kew jfkthame at googlemail.com
Thu Sep 22 18:19:35 CEST 2011

On 22 Sep 2011, at 16:58, Stefan Löffler wrote:

> Hi all,
> as you may or may not know, Charlie and I are currently working on an
> overhaul (you could also call it replacement) of the current pdf viewer.
> This means now is the perfect time to tell us what you would like to see
> changed in the pdf viewer, so we can see what we can do to implement them.
> There are a few things that you don't need to bring up, however:
> - multipage/continuous view - that is up and running already
> - text selection - that is on our wishlist, but due to implementation
> details in poppler not too easy to achieve. If we have the time, we
> might look into how evince/okular/other poppler-based programs do it,
> but it's unlikely that this makes it into the first version that we
> bring to Tw
> - printing - this is highly platform dependent and independent of the
> core pdf previewer code (which only deals with displaying things on the
> screen), so not the primary target right now
> Alright, so let's all work together to improve the pdf previewer.

One thing I've been meaning to suggest: it might be worth experimenting with the Cairo backend to poppler (in place of the Splash renderer). Some comments I've seen (sorry, don't have references offhand) have suggested that it gives superior results; and in particular, it might serve as a stepping-stone towards printing support (as cairo can, for example, render to a Windows GDI printing surface or an OS X Quartz context).

AFAIR, the combination of the Qt4 bindings and the Cairo backend is not "officially" supported by the main developers (cairo is associated with GTK rather than with Qt), but I believe it's possible to make them work together - I think I recall someone posting (to the poppler mailing list? cairo list?) about it in the past.

Alternatively, it might also be worth seeing whether the Arthur backend (i.e. the Qt-specific poppler renderer) is usable, and how its performance and quality compares to Splash. When I started TW, Arthur was in a seriously broken state, but there has been work on it since then so it may be in better shape, and in principle it too could offer hope for better printing.


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