[Mac OS X TeX] Editor choices

V. Vatsal vatsal at math.ubc.ca
Wed Jun 13 00:22:27 CEST 2001

<x-flowed>I've been messing about with various editors in OSX, to find one that works 
well for me. Here's my 10 cents worth (and it's Canadian money, so really 
not worth anything.)

I have tried:

A) BBEdit: Like many of the people on this list, I don't find the TeX 
syntax coloring in BBEdit to be particularly useful or even robust. It was 
even broken in 5.1 -- it used to color everything between dollar signs, and 
often got confused. Now it doesn't color delimiters at all, which is worse, 
in my opinion.

B) Pepper: http://www.hekkelman.com/pepper.html

Quite nice. Lots of nifty features, decent coloring. It does most of the 
things I want, but for $45 it's a bit pricey.

C) Alpha in classic. Love the LaTeX features, frequently get frustrated 
with the interface, and waste time on trivial things. And it's not ready 
for OS X yet.

D) emacs/xemacs: haven't gotten around to installing emacs yet, but if it's 
the same as emacs in unix/linux, then it's going to be pretty decent. That 
being said, the interface is just not intuive to me, and, as with Alpha, I 
end up wasting time with it.

On balance, I find I am most productive with BBEdit and Pepper, although 
the non-colored delimiters in BBEdit 6.1 are annoying. BBEdit undoubtedly 
worked best for me in Mac OS 9; glossary items provide access to all the 
templates I need. I also liked the find and mark all feature -- it's great 
for managing big documents.

I'd fork out the $$ for 6.1, but the syntax coloring problem is a turn off. 
But as Christian Smith of Barebones sez, it's possible to change this, by 
writing a replacement module. I wanted to do this myself, but I don't have 
Codewarrior, or time to learn about programming in C, just at the present 
moment. (Maybe when I get tenure, but then it might be easier just to quite 
TeXing :))

In any case, I have a minimalist coloring scheme in mind that would work 
for me. I'd suggest two things

i) color any occurence of $ $$ { }
ii) anything that matches \[xxx]+, where xxx+ means zero or more alphabetic 
characters. The match should stop when the pattern reaches any 
non-alphabetic character.

Any comments/ideas? The above seems simple enough that it ought not to be 
so incredibly hard to program.

V. Vatsal
Department of Mathematics
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

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