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[Texmacs-dev] General comments /june

From: Álvaro Tejero Cantero
Subject: [Texmacs-dev] General comments /june
Date: 12 Jun 2002 17:13:20 +0200

Enclosed I send a TeXmacs file with some notes I've taken down while
using TeXmacs. I put it also inline so that we can discuss it over
email. I find TeXmacs source format very readable, and somehow the
conversion to verbatim didn't want to go through the complete document.

Please notice that this is only a "bulletin of thoughts", not a formal
wishlist. Only some items for discussion. Tell me if you find this
should go to texmacs-users instead of texmacs-dev. 

Have fun, á.

  <\with|paragraph mode|center>
    <strong|Alvaro's monthly notes on TeXmacs, june 2002.>

  I'm starting to compulsively do all my writings with TeXmacs. I like it
  more and more, although for me the performance decrease when at the end of
  a long paragraph is very noticeable (pIII-600, 256Mib RAM). I have made
  some observations which I expect to be useful for discussing about TeXmacs,
  there they go.


    <item>Use gv as default postscript previewer, rename accordingly the menu

    <item>List of last opened documents would make much more usable the
    present opening routine.

    <item>Keybinding to access the buffer menu. In fact, a keybinding is
    needed to access <em|every> menu.

    <item>``Alt'' text in hyperlinks absolutely necessary: in references it
    would sample the text around the label, same in footnotes, etc...


    <item>Three dashes: ---.

    <item>Automatic double-quoting. Would correct the `ùndesired decoration''
    problem. (Let texmacs decide if " are opening or closing, based on


    <item>I've noticed that in LaTeX--made books the next paragraph to an
    enumeration appears indented.

    <item>Next paragraph after a figure appears indented. Is this indented,
    no, intended? ;)

  See this example: it is <em|not> indented!.


    <item>Next-env selection in styles.

    <item>End-of-line wrapping (via <with|mode|math|\<rightarrow\>>). This is
    a big, big usability problem. It seems there's no way to go to the next
    line by using the keyboard! (or else I am just too dumb).

    <item>Style cycling.

    <item>Allow for configurability of ``key press causes deletion of
    selected text''. <em|Any> key press.

    <item><verbatim|A-w> should be copy, but buys you a nice
    <with|mode|math|\<omega\>> in math mode. A general and widely used
    binding for copy/paste/cut operations should be found. Probably greek
    letters should be formed with another, different, key stroke.

  <section|Data formats>


  For each <verbatim|\<less\>> insert a <verbatim|\\n> and increase
  indentation by 1. I think this would enhance readability. Thoughts?


    <item>Insert a label, then a reference to the label, then wipe out the
    original label. The reference remains, and new refs can be created to the
    now non-existent label. Example: <reference|questions>

    <item>If you change a label name all references to it should be
    accordingly updated. For example, <reference|questions> was called
    ``questions'' but is now `ànswers''. So there's a problem with the
    maintainability of cross references.<label|demonstration>

    <item><verbatim|del> doesn't work after a ``box''. Try it for example
    <em|here>o: you just <em|can't> delete the ``o'' when between the
    emphasis and the o!!!

    <item>When I insert a reference to the ``answers'' label it chooses to
    give the preceding item number as reference name. I think that the
    section name or an abbreviation should be used when sections are

  <section|LaTeX import/export>

    <item>When I import a latex file full of <verbatim|\\newcommand>s with an
    <verbatim|\\input{macros.sty}> the macros don't get loaded. When I insert
    the macros inline myself everything is ok.

    <item>Suppose I'm writing a LaTeX doc and I want to export to TeXmacs. I
    certainly want to have ``structured mathematics''. How do I insert
    products in order that they get properly translated by TeXmacs into *s?.


    <item>How do you do an asterisk in math--mode? \\ast doesn't work. How
    about <verbatim|E-E-*>?

    <item>How to center two linked images inside a big figure?

    <item>What is the ``asterisk'' that appears when you make a section
    inside a prolog?

    <item>How to make titles in books?

    <item>I think it would be very interesting to include the Maxima tutorial
    which Michel Gosse translated into french in the included help. I hope
    there aren't copyright issues. One day I might translate it into spanish.
    Imagine: people would receive a functional/documented typesetting/CAS
    system in a bundle!.


    <item>Perhaps interesting to make more accesible the update menu. If you
    forget to update your freshly printed document must go to the basket.

    <item>Perhaps interesting to make <em|less> accesible visual editing.

    <item>I would call the ``Window'' menu ``see''. Then the subitems would
    be shorter. I think

      <item>It's better the shorter the top level menu names. This is short.

      <item>It's better if they don't make reference to technical terms
      (buffer, window).

      <item>Not all subitems of window are window--related, and some are only
      tangentially (think header & footers).

    <item>Does tools <with|mode|math|\<longrightarrow\> \ >selections operate
    only on selections? (that would make sense only for export though).\ 

    <item>I like the new name for buffer. Straight, direct. Like ``see'' (or

    <item>I think the term ``selection'' is better for the ``text'' menu
    item. It is more clear <em|to which> text do the operations apply.

    <item>The operation--oriented paradigm for menus (described in
    <verbatim|<em|redesign of the menus>>, see wiki) would imply that first
    you would select "font series" and then you would say to which unit you
    want to apply the change.\ 

    This gets interesting if instead one searches hard for a way to decide
    the target automatically. For example: if you do font change while the
    cursor is inside a word<with|mode|math|\<rightarrow\>>change that word.
    If you perform it while a text is selected
    <with|mode|math|\<rightarrow\>> do it over the selection (then if you
    make easy to select paragraphs there's no need to do anything fancy to
    support paragraph operations). And again: if you make it easy to select
    the whole document (C-e, C-a?), you can just have one keystroke or menu
    item (select all) plus the desired operation afterwards. I think
    implementing this would very much simplify the menus and user experience
    (people often searches for the operation, having the unit it should be
    applied to implicitly in mind).

alqua.com, la red en estudio
"La perfection est atteinte non quand il ne reste rien à
ajouter, mais quand il ne reste rien à enlever"

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