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RE: [seul-edu] Re: perl or......

In regard to a GUI for TeX (for math), consider Mathematica.  Mathematica
has "palettes" of buttons (which are easily modified or created new) that
allow you to write real math quickly and easily.  What MS Word Equation
Editor should have been like.  My point is that Mathematica allows
"save-as-special" to TeX.

It is not free, but there are substantial student discounts.  I purchased
Mathematica 3.0, student editon, and the CD contained MS Win and Linux
versions.  Both worked very well.

Mathematica is also being used by Harvard, Ohio State (I think), and another
university (as a consortium) to provide extension courses for the lower
division calculus sequence via internet.  This is especially useful for
highschool students who wish to get a head start.  As a physics graduate
student I can assure you that success in Physics & Engineering classes at
the lower division level is highly dependent on one's math level.

One final word:  LaTex is revered by both the Physics department here
(WindowsNT-centric) and the Mathematics department (Apple-centric).  MS Word
is used to generate simple quizes and tests but not for publication.

Really, this is the last word: In regard to using TCL to write a LaTex menu
system for your text editor...consider that Vim (or GVim, the "graphical"
version) can be compiled to execute Python and Perl in a manner similar to
emacs' elisp.  Might provide for a tighter integration.  And do please email
me a beta copy...  :-)

----Original Message-----
From: owner-seul-edu@seul.org [mailto:owner-seul-edu@seul.org]On Behalf
Of lp
Sent: Monday, December 04, 2000 9:55 PM
To: seul-edu@seul.org
Subject: Re: [seul-edu] Re: perl or......

Chris Hedemark wrote:
> S. Barret Dolph said:
> > How well does Latex work for formatting entire books?
> Argggh!  I starting writing a book using KLyX (the KDE front end to
> Forget it.  I hate it.  I'd rather use MS Word (really!).
I have to agree with Manuel about the virtues of Latex. But I also
sympathize with Chris.

I would like some 'clickable' interface for Latex but decided against
KLyX/LyX because the documents are not saved in a standard, simple
Latex format that works with other applications I use. For instance,
I cannot use latex2html to convert documents created with Lyx into
html. I must also explain that latex2html is not just a 'conversion'
tool, but a very powerful - I don't know what to call it - 'web
document production' tool. If you have your Latex markup set up
correctly you can run latex2html on it and all of the sections are
automatically split up and organized for you with navigation
buttons. Any math notation that can be rendered with html markup
will be converted and anything else is automatically converted
to a gif, or png file. The documents load very quickly, and there
is a minimal amount of extraneous html code generated. If you want
to put a WebEQ/LiveMath/proprietary applet in the web page then you
can do that once your basic document structure is set up. Because
Latex is text markup, if you have your document source in
Latex you can convert it to a wide number of formats. Also, text
documents are much easier to work with for programming and cgi

Almost every math department at every major university in the world
uses it, but that's not true at the community college and K-12 level.
This Latex vs WYSIWYG issue needs to be clarified and dealt with.
It is one of the biggest barriers for using Linux in mathematics
at lower levels. That's really a shame. It doesn't have to be that
way. It requires a fundamental change in the way you approach
documentation. It requires you to plan your document for one thing,
and also to be convinced *by concrete examples* that text markup
in a well-planned document is going to save time, money, and
frustration in the long run, and not make your life miserable.

What would be really useful is to find some way to break the
complexity of Latex and Tex down to smaller, easier to use pieces
for the K-12 level. Some kind of well-organized collection of
small Latex and Tex templates that could be pasted into a text
editor would be helpful, along with some simple instructions
on how to send the output to a dvi file, a pdf file, and an
html file.

For math test templates, Latex has an automatic question numbering
feature that teachers would really like. I don't think even the
Word equation editor has that feature.

Just because Latex is text markup, it doesn't mean you can't have
tools that save keystrokes.

What I would really like to see is a Tcl/Tk menu with buttons on it
that you could click on and have various kinds of markup 'templates'
go to your text editor window. Everything from a simple '\bf' for
bold to the markup for automatic numbered and aligned equations.
An application like that might really help level the learning curve
for Latex.

Maybe even design your own markup definitions. You could click on
other buttons for help, notes, conversions, spell checking, print,
or preview the result. If it could be interfaced with a little
Tcl/Tk draw program that could produce latex output (like xfig
does) then that would really be neat.

I've tried 'puts'ing around with it but I'm not a
programmer and I can't figure it out. I think it might have
something to do with how the 'open'/'config'/'flush' commands
work with the 'channelid' option for 'puts'??? Argggh!

L. Prevett
Mathematics Instructor
Cochise College, Sierra Vista, AZ, US