TeXworks v0.3 snapshot

Jonathan Kew has posted new ‘snapshots’ for the experimental (v0.3) trunk of TeXworks. As usual, these are for Windows and the Mac, with Linux users to compile themselves from the SVN (not usually difficult). Looking through the change list, it looks like mainly small refinements rather than any big changes. Everything looks like it’s working, which is the main thing!

Background colouring in TeXworks

The current experimental builds of TeXworks now include the ability to alter the background colour of text, as well as the foreground. At the moment, you can’t do this in an additive fashion (varying the two independently). However, it does make it easy to have something a bit nicer than the default bright red for comments. I’ve altered my syntax-patterns.txt file for LaTeX to read

# special characters
darkred		N	[$#^_{}&]

# LaTeX environments
darkgreen	N	\\(?:begin|end)\s*\{[^}]*\}

# LaTeX packages
darkblue	N	\\usepackage\s*(?:\[[^]]*\]\s*)?\{[^}]*\}

# control sequences
blue		N	\\(?:[A-Za-z@]+|.)

# comments
black/lightgrey			Y	%.*

You’ll see that the last line includes two colours, so I get black on light grey for comments.

TeXworks: Automatic LaTeX message detection

TeXworks: Experimental LaTeX-errors interface
TeXworks: Experimental LaTeX-errors interface

The latest builds of TeXworks include support for scripting. There are not a lot of scripts just yet, but one that already looks good is LaTeX error message highlighting.

This already seems to work pretty well, and it’s one of the few things I miss from my previous editor of choice (WinEdt). It can already jump to the line in question, when you choose the appropriate line in the listing.

Of course, this is only the first step in getting full scripting support for TeXworks. But things look good to me: the extra complexity to the interface is minimal, and it really opens up the possibilities for more advanced users.

TeXworks bugfixes in v0.2 “stable” branch

Jonathan Kew has released a couple of bug-fix versions on the ‘stable’ 0.2 branch of TeXworks, taking the current stable version to v0.2.2. The latest fix only affects Windows users, and is related to the ‘drag and drop’ inclusion of JPEG images. As usual, pre-compiled versions are available for Windows and Mac OS X: Linux users have to grab the source and compile their own.

TeXworks v0.2 branch

Jonathan Kew has posted that he has switched the version number of TeXworks to v0.2, and has made a branch to keep things stable. There are new binaries for Windows and Mac users: Linux people still have to compile things themselves. The idea is that the branch will just get bug fixes, keeping the code stable enough for a wider range of users. Of course, those people who want the latest features will have to stick with the trunk. I’ve not seen any problems with the trunk so far, but I guess that some of the upcoming changes (for example, adding scripting) have some risk of problems.

TeXworks on Linux

There was an interesting e-mail to the TeXworks mailing list today. Laurence Field has made a build of TeXworks available as an “Application Bundle”, a pre-built drop-and-drag method for installing across Linux distributions. The idea is to make life as easy for Linux users as those on Macs (where the same drag-and-drop method is very common). Hopefully, this will help lower the entry barrier that bit further!

TeXworks v0.1 release candidate

Jonathan Kew has posted new binaries for TeXworks, with the idea that these are a release candidate for version 0.1 (which will be in TeX Live 2009 on Windows). Over the past few builds, we’ve got an icon, installer and the ability to associate .tex files with TeXworks. So things already look pretty good to me. I’m not sure what exactly is planned for v0.2, but somewhere along the line the plan is to include scripting, so perhaps that’s the next big item to add. I’m already using TeXworks for my day-to-day work, so don’t be put off by the low version number.

Testing MiKTeX 2.8 and TeX Live 2009

Both MiKTeX and TeX Live have new versions in the offing. I’ve been testing out both MiKTeX 2.8 and TeX Live 2009, to keep up to date with what is happening. In the past, I’ve tended to stick with MiKTeX as it is designed for Windows, and so can make some platform-specific decisions and be more focussed. However, the TeX Live team have done a lot of work to make TeX Live usable across platforms, and there are advantages to that approach.

Looking through the feature lists, a lot of the new features are common to the two systems, for example:

  • TeXworks installed as a distribution-maintained editor.
  • XeTeX version 0.9995 (which includes the new primitives that the LaTeX3 team asked for).
  • Some \write18 functions enabled without turning on full \write18 support: this is used to allow “safe” functions.

There are, of course, also differences. For example, only TeX Live includes LuaTeX at present. I also notice that MiKTeX 2.8 is adding the full path of files to the log, whereas in the past you got the relative path. I’m not so sure this is a good idea: it makes things rather wordy, and also the log will vary between systems: not so great. On the other hand, MiKTeX 2.8 does provide user-specific texmf directories. For multi-user systems, this is a real bonus: you can use the auto-install system without needing to be the Administrator.

As I said, I’ve tended to use MiKTeX to date as it’s been the best “fit” on Windows. The latest version of TeX Live makes this a pretty tight call, I think. If you are happy installing a full TeX system (which I do), then there is very little in it. MiKTeX still has the edge for small installations, as the auto-install system really pays off there.

New TeXworks binaries

Jonathan Kew has produced new binaries for TeXworks for both both Windows and MacOS X. The ZIP file now contains everything you need to download in one place, which makes installation that bit easier.

On a somewhat related matter, I see that MiKTeX 2.8 is going to include TeXworks, including setting up file associations (.tex and .sty). As TeX Live 2009 is also coming with TeXworks, getting hold of the programme should become very easy for end users. This can only be a good thing.