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TeX: Typesetting LaTeX files from Alpha/8/X/Tk

Many users have reported frustration with trying to configure AlphaTcl's various TeX settings to typeset documents. We current have these preferences:

 
    Additional TeX Flags     "Config > TeX Mode Prefs > Preferences"
    Auto Adjust Format       "TeX Menu > TeX Format"
    Run TeX In Back          "Config > TeX Mode Prefs > Preferences"
    Show TeX Log             "Config > TeX Mode Prefs > Preferences"
    TeX Format               "TeX Menu > TeX Format"
    TeX Program              "TeX Menu > TeX Program"    
    TeX Signature            "Config > Global Setup > Helper Applications"
    Use Textures Flash Mode  "Config > TeX Mode Prefs > Preferences"
    Version For CMacTeX      "Config > TeX Mode Prefs > Preferences"
    Version For Textures     "Config > TeX Mode Prefs > Preferences"

so the number of variations is incredibly high, and one wrong setting can disable the typesetting of your file. (For most TeX helpers, only a few of these are important anyway, but it is hard to know in advance which ones matter.)

Yes, Alpha is incredibly flexible in that it supports typesetting with OzTeX, CMacTeX, Textures, TeXShop, and more, and for multiple OS platforms, but users aren't likely to be so impressed with this array of options when they can't figure out how to configure Alpha to use just the one that they want.

Furthermore there are all those 'sigs' to specify in "Config > Global Setup > Helper Applications". The following are relevant for TeX.

 
    Bibtex Sig
    Distill PSSig
    Dvi Pdf Sig
    Dvips Sig
    Makeindex Sig
    Pdflatex Sig
    Print DVISig
    Print PSSig
    TeX Sig
    View DVISig
    View PDFSig
    View PSSig
    Exec Search Path

but again, most of them are not needed for any given setup. For example, if you use an integrated TeX environment, most probably viewing and printing is taken care of by that integrated application and it will not be important to be able to send the print command from Alpha...

There is now a new LaTeX Menu > LaTeX Help > Typesetting From Alpha help file that (at the moment) includes a very brief description of the current issues and directs the user here for more information. It really needs to include sections for each possible configuration, organized in such a way that the user can go to the section that s/he needs (e.g. "CMacTeX using AlphaX in OSX") and find out everything that needs to be known. Yes, this implies several sections, but it has to be done in order to let the user figure this stuff out.

That's where this Wiki page comes into play. Chances are that no individual will be able to write this document including all of the finer points for each possible option. It needs to be collaboratively edited, and this is the best forum to do so.

If you know how AlphaTcl's settings should be configured for any possible Helper/OS combination, please explain it below. Please include the proper settings for each of the variables listed above, indicating "Ignored" for those that don't matter.

Once we have a good set of documentation for each possible configuration, this information will be periodically updated in the new Help file and committed to the CVS.


More about the helper applications

While these settings ought to be obvious (most people do know which programme they want to handle these different tasks), there are some subtleties because there are three ways to indicate an application: either by browsing (the MacOS spirit), or by giving the application's signature (this is for MacOS experts, not something end users should be confronted with), or finally by giving a complete path. So the user needs to know which one to use. As a thumb rule, browsing should work for all GUI applications (but not for unix programmes), while a complete path should always work, but will break down if the application is moved. (Furthermore there has been a problem with the dialogue itself: when some application is set, the whole dialogue is greyed out. To "enable" it again, it is necessary to switch to another application and back again. This problem seems to have been solved now...)


CMacTeX : Alpha8/MacClassic ; AlphaX/OSX ; Alphatk/OSX

 
    Additional TeX Flags     : whatever you need (these are command line options for the tex program)
    Auto Adjust Format       : checked (unless you use exotic formats)
    Run TeX In Back          : as you want; should be checked if you want to switch to CMacTeX when running tex
    Show TeX Log             : as you  want; useful when "Run TeX In Back" is checked
    TeX Format               : the one you want to use among those available to CMacTeX (shown in the TeX format menu of CMacTeX)
    TeX Program              : the one you want to use among those available to CMacTeX (shown in the TeX Program menu of CMacTeX)
    TeX Signature            : *XeT
    Use Textures Flash Mode  : (ignored)
    Version For CMacTeX      : set according to your CMacTeX version (should now be > 4)
    Version For Textures     : (ignored)

These settings

 
    Additional TeX Flags
    Auto Adjust Format
    TeX Format
    TeX Program

need be explained in more detail. There's probably quite a bit of information in some of the AlphaTcl-User listserv postings ...


iTeXMac : AlphaX/OSX ; AlphaTk/OSX

 
    Additional TeX Flags     : ??
    Auto Adjust Format       : ??
    Run TeX In Back          : ??
    Show TeX Log             : ??
    TeX Format               : ??
    TeX Program              : ??
    TeX Signature            : iTMx
    Use Textures Flash Mode  : (ignored)
    Version For CMacTeX      : (ignored)
    Version For Textures     : (ignored)


OzTeX : Alpha8/MacClassic ; AlphaX/OSX ; Alphatk/OSX

 
    Additional TeX Flags     : (ignored)
    Auto Adjust Format       : (ignored)
    Run TeX In Back          : as you want; should be checked if you want to switch to OzTeX when running tex
    Show TeX Log             : as you  want; useful when "Run TeX In Back" is checked
    TeX Format               : (ignored)
    TeX Program              : tex (OzTeX has only a tex engine, no pdftex or etex)
    TeX Signature            : OTEX
    Use Textures Flash Mode  : (ignored)
    Version For CMacTeX      : (ignored)
    Version For Textures     : (ignored)


teTeX : AlphaX/OSX ; AlphaTk/OSX

One possibility is to use the alternative tetex interface 'tetexComm', which is distributed with AlphaTcl as of April 2004. It completely ignores all those settings above, and uses instead its own simplified settings with the assumption that you want to use unix tools for all tex related tasks.

By default, the tetexComm command typeset is bound to Shift-Cmd-R.

The main two settings are the choice of a viewer (for dvi or pdf) and the choice of a default command (e.g. latex). Some of the other settings are

 
    autoViewWhenNoErrors
    autoNextAction

To access the tetexComm settings, go to "Config > TeXC Mode Settings > Preferences" while the TeX console is frontmost.

In contrast to the other tex interfaces mentioned on this page, which all consist in leaving everything to the external programme's interface, tetexComm interfaces tetex inside Alpha, so you only leave Alpha for viewing and printing. The advantage of this approach is that if some smart feature is wanted or invented, it is just a matter of implementing it in Tcl -- there are many examples of such features (see the file tetexComm.tcl in the AlphaTcl distribution for more details), and there is support for all sorts of exotic tricks for tex gurus, like using pdftex to produce dvi, using source specials to provide synchronisation with xdvi, using shell escapes to convert eps figures to pdf on the fly, and whatever else is possible in a full-blown tetex installation.

(The reason why tetexComm does not honour the standard AlphaTcl tex settings was at first historical: it was a purely experimental interface that did not want to interfere with any of Alpha's standard settings and mechanisms. Later, the author felt that the standard AlphaTcl way of specifying tex interaction (that jungle of settings that made this page necessary) was simply not adequate for the new situation of interfacing unix tex. The notion of sigs is not well-suited for unix --- one should use PATH! --- and the distinction between programme and format (although inherent to tex) is not what you would use in a command line: there are symlinks and scripts called 'latex', 'amstex', which take care of calling the appropriate engine with the appropriate parameters, and if you need to typeset a file with some special format then the only reasonable way is to indicate the format in the first line of the file with the magic %&format, which of course tetexComm understands.)

This section was written by the PR executive of the tetexComm fan club.


TeXShop : AlphaX/OSX ; Alphatk/OSX

The only relevant setting is the TeX Signature which should set to TeXs. When doing 'Typeset', TeXShop will typeset the document with whatever settings were made in TeXShop for the 'Typeset' command --- this will typically be 'pdflatex' or 'altpdflatex'.

 
    Additional TeX Flags     : (ignored)
    Auto Adjust Format       : (ignored)
    Run TeX In Back          : (ignored)
    Show TeX Log             : (ignored)
    TeX Format               : (ignored)
    TeX Program              : (ignored)
    TeX Signature            : TeXs
    Use Textures Flash Mode  : (ignored)
    Version For CMacTeX      : (ignored)
    Version For Textures     : (ignored)


Textures : Alpha8/MacClassic ; AlphaX/OSX ; Alphatk/OSX

 
    Additional TeX Flags     : ??
    Auto Adjust Format       : ??
    Run TeX In Back          : ??
    Show TeX Log             : ??
    TeX Format               : ??
    TeX Program              : ??
    TeX Signature            : ??
    Use Textures Flash Mode  : ??
    Version For CMacTeX      : (ignored)
    Version For Textures     : set according to your Textures version (should now be > 2)


TeXniscope : AlphaX/OSX ; Alphatk/OSX

This is only a dvi and pdf viewer, and it is still in early development, but is very promising, and the only viewer I know of that can synchronise with both dvi source specials and pdfsync. The two relevant settings are the viewDVI Signature and the viewPDF Signature which should set to MGUB --- if you want TeXniscope for both.

 
    viewDVI Signature            : MGUB
    viewPDF Signature            : MGUB

Furthermore you need to setup TeXniscope to use alphac...


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Category.TeX

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Page last modified on July 15, 2008, at 08:12 PM