[OS X TeX] making pictures, was "Should I install X11"

Robert Bruner rrb at math.wayne.edu
Fri Jun 23 13:13:09 CEST 2006

Peter Dyballa said:
> My Mac came with OmniGraffle. It produces compact PNG files. I  
> prefer it more than Xfig.

Cool!  I had no idea this was lurking in my machine.  So much to learn,
so little time.  This seems to be a lot like Xfig, in that you draw
each bit you want, rather than writing code to produce it as in XYpic.
It looks like you can produce your own template of arrows, etc, for
commutative diagrams and such.  The sorts of things a mathematician
might want don't seem built in.  I'll have to learn how to incoporate
its output into TeX;  xfig produces encapsulated postscript (and LaTeX)
which you can include quite simply and portably.

Doaitse Swierstra suggests the other approach:

> After struggling with the production of pictures for years, I have  
> discovered the TikZ library, that came with the installation of pgf  
> that came with the installation the beamer class which I installed  
> for making presentations (http://sourceforge.net/projects/latex- 
> beamer/).

This seems conceptually similar to XYpic:   write code to produce the
picture you want.  Does anyone have experience with both in order to
compare them?  Is it apples vs oranges, or apples vs herring?

The advantage of code is clear:  you can reuse, tweak, etc., but I am
familiar enough with XYpic that I am likely to stick with it for things
I am willing to encode in this way until the investment of time in a
new system would be repaid by improved results, or speedier coding.

Bob Bruner

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