# [tug-summer-of-code] A couple of project proposals

Sat Jul 4 10:28:14 CEST 2009

> It would make sense to ask the user if he wants to find:
> a) a standalone symbol (\alpha, \times, \int, ...)
> b) or an accent
>
> It makes no sense to treat a caron or macron or acute accent ... on
> each and every letter separately.
>
> In case a) you may offer an empty box and in case b) you draw an
> imaginary symbol (could be a gray circle) in the background, so that
> user can place an accent on it. User is probably only interested in
> knowing the command for placing accent. I don't think that you really
> need to recognize the letter along with the accent. It makes the task
> more difficult and it leaves you with many more choices at the end.

This is another very good suggestion. I will separate symbol and
accent search and I have already removed the accented characters from
the current version as that cluttered the whole thing too much.

>> I would really like to support the Comprehensive List of LaTeX Symbols
>> but as already noted I am not very experienced with LaTeX. The System
>> should work with any kind of hand-drawn symbol but right now my
>> problem is that I don't know how to get all these symbols rendered for
>> the web. I am using MathTeX (http://www.forkosh.com/mathtex.html) to
>> render the Symbols.
>
> You should not worry. This step is easier than any other you have made
> so far. Since the number of symbols is limited, you could simply
> pre-generate them all (for example create dvi or png and then convert
> using dvitopng or ghostscript to convert from PDF to PNG).

I am working on a solution now and I think I have almost understood
what is needed. From what I have seen so far for a particular symbol I
need to know

package,
\command,
fontenc
and if it is made for math mode.

The last point is something I have problems with. How do I know which
symbols work in math mode and which don't? My understanding so far is
that there are some latex2e and ams symbols that work in both math an
text mode and the rest of the symbols is either math or text mode.
Math mode symbols are the ones from section 3 of the comprehensive
symbols list and all the others are text mode.
What bothers me most is that non math mode symbols will get rendered
without an error in math mode but the outcome is not as desired (so I
can't find out programmatically).

http://github.com/kirel/comprehensive-latex-yaml/blob/0c691d0c77606275d697a0be422394c370fe35d5/symbols.yaml
is a first idea to organize the symbols so that I can generate all the
graphics with a script. That also allows me to add necessary
information to recognized symbols such as the package needed. Am I
missing something important?

Daniel