Wednesday, March 5, 2014

TeXlipse

I've been editing LaTeX files using an old version of WinEdt. But at least in the old version I was using, I was having a terrible time ensuring things like matching \begin{...} and \end{...} for frame and itemize blocks when editing Beamer presentations. But I think I finally found a better way to handle LaTeX: the TeXlipse plugin for Eclipse. I can now have background building (at least when I save, and I press ctrl-s quite often instinctually), syntax highlighting and indenting, autocomplete, a handy hierarchical view, and very nice handling of error messages.

The downsides are that you need Eclipse (but I have it already installed for Android software development, and it is free after all) and Eclipse is bloated and doesn't start fast, setting up a new project takes a few more clicks than before, and the PDF viewer that comes with TeXlipse doesn't show all the graphical elements in a Beamer file. The last is a nuisance, but the nice way that the PDF file is linked with the LaTeX source compensates for it, as does the fact that I can just set up SumatraPDF as a secondary PDF viewer, and SumatraPDF (unlike Acrobat) will automatically reload the pdf file when it is regenerated. All in all, it seems worthwhile.

4 comments:

skip said...

Emacs with Org mode is the ultimate combination of simple input, powerful functionality, and polished output (including beamer). Some great features:
Agendas and TODO tracking
Structured documents
Embedded source code edit, tangle, compile, execute
Tables that work like magic
Export: latex, beamer, odt, plain text, ...
Etc. etc.

You seem like the ideal user.

patrick said...

Have you tried
TeXStudio? It is an open source TeX editor for M$ Windows.

Alexander R Pruss said...

I tried Emacs some time in the late 80s or early 90s, and didn't like it. It may have improved since. :-)

TeXStudio looks good, though the nice thing about an Eclipse plugin is that it's Eclipse which I am somewhat familiar with.

Alexander R Pruss said...

I think I slightly prefer TeXlipse to TeXStudio, though TeXStudio looks really good. Even after changing some settings in TeXStudio, TeXlipse seems a touch nicer. I like the fact that it gives me \item at the beginning of every line in an itemize environment (maybe there is a setting in TeXStudio for that), and I was annoyed in TeXStudio by all the colors changing around as I typed, indicating delimiter matching. The delimiter matching in TeXlipse was less intrusive (it activates after a pause--maybe there is a TeXStudio option for that?)

On the other hand, I am having trouble getting the structure outline to update in TeXlipse.