[Mac OS X TeX] Text Editor, spell checker, and TeX engine interoperability

Rick Zaccone zaccone at bucknell.edu
Wed Aug 29 16:11:56 CEST 2001

>>How does excalibur interoperate with eudora?
>Excalibur supports a technology called "Word Services" that first
>showed up in OS 9 (possibly earlier).  In Eudora one can add a Word
>Service (from under the Edit menu).  Select Excalibur and presto an
>item will not be at the bottom of your Eudora Edit menu: Check
>Spelling.  (This is also a keyboard shortcut for this choice as
>Selecting this option invokes Excalibur on the body of the message.
>When you are done with Excalibur the altered document is placed back
>in the message window.  (This I believe is done via copying all of
>the buffer to the clipboard, running Excalibur on the clipboard and
>then reversing the process with done.)  My hand never needs to go to
>the mouse to trigger the interoperability in either direction.  (One
>may choose to use the mouse inside of Excalibur though.)

Word Services goes back to about 1994 as I remember.

The Word Services protocol does not use the clipboard.  In the case of
a typical e-mail message, Eudora will notify Excalibur that it has two
chunks of text that it would like to have spell checked (the Subject
line and the message body).  Excalibur requests those chunks and
Eudora sends them.  After you are done spell checking, Excalibur sends
a series of corrections back to Eudora.  Each correction is of the
form "change positions x through y of the text to this new text".  All
of this communication is done through Apple Events.

Word Services was developed by Working Software, the makers of
Spellswell.  They made the specification for Word Services publicly
available, but they only provide examples on how to implement a Word
Services client.  (They didn't want competition for their own spelling
checker.)  As a result, creating a new Word Services client is fairly
easy.  It shouldn't be too difficult to make TeXShop or Textures Word
Services aware.  The hard part was figuring out how to introduce the
server capabilities into Excalibur.

It seems that Apple itself might be moving away from Word Services.
Versions of AppleWorks before version 6.0 supported it, but they have
since removed it!

I agree with some of the other people who have endorsed emacs as a
text editor for LaTeX.  I haven't seen anything that comes close.
Ideally, I'd like to use emacs as an editor for Textures and have it
understand the Word Services protocol.  This seems very possible since
emacs is highly customizable.  I don't know if Textures' support for
high level events is up to it though.

I like ispell too, but I have a bias.  I think Excalibur has a better
understanding of LaTeX.


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