[OS X TeX] R, paradigm to bring into the LaTeX world?

Denis Chabot chabotd at globetrotter.net
Mon Oct 23 03:30:51 CEST 2006

I would like to precise that I was not advocating a new version of  
LaTeX that would take fewer MB, and I take full responsibility for  
sometimes being unable to do something in LaTeX that a bit of reading  
won't fix (in my case, it also means rereading because lapses between  
TeX projects are long enough to forget).

But rather I was agreeing with those people who over the last couple  
of weeks said things would be even better if it was not so hard at  
times to figure out how to perform a new task (some answers were for  
a more "organized" LaTeX in terms of packages and documentation. I  
agree, but as other said, it may be long in coming.

In the mean time, it would be easier to cope (especially for people  
like me) if one could more quickly check what is available. Some of  
you mentioned TCOBrowser. Good. I had forgotten about it. And the  
latest version is very nice and useful indeed. I admit that with nice  
front-ends like TeXShop, an installer like i-Installer, and  
TCOBrowser to complete things, we should not complain.

The R-like proposal I made is just one small step further. If you are  
not using R, I'll describe what I suggested (but am in no way capable  
of making happen) like this: imagine working on a LaTeX document  
within TeXShop. You come to a point where you cannot get something  
done. You figure there must be a package that does this (or already  
know about it). You pull a menu down and select "Package installer",  
browse the list of packages that are stored on CTAN, pick one or more  
you wish to add to your setup, click Install, then wait a few  
minutes. Then you continue editing your document, adding the new
for the newly downloaded package(s) if you wished.

In R there is another menu called Package Manager (the first one was  
Package Installer). In that one, you can load a package or access its  
documentation and help files. I guess loading packages this way makes  
no sense in LaTeX, so that other menu would do a bit what TCOBrowser  
does (but right there within TeXShop).

Finally, to complete my analogy, you could call a search box, type a  
search string, and the CTAN site would be searched, including package  
documentation files and mailing list archives, using your search  
term. This would open a window in Safari with the results of the search.

All feasible now by using TeXShop, TCOBrowser, I-Installer and  
Safari. But it would be a bit better integrated.

Don't take me wrong, I'm not blaming anybody for the absence of this  
system, I'm just expressing the view that if it existed, some people  
would find things a bit easier. I had a feeling that when people  
wished for things to be a bit easier with LaTeX, the problem was in  
giving some concrete examples of what that could involve. This is  
just one suggestion. It does not mean that a majority of users and  
potential users would support it (over competing suggestions). But it  
is a suggestion.


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