As any reader of this (now rather occasional) blog might have guessed by now, I do quite a lot of writing in LaTeX. It comes with the territory — I do mathematics research, so I write in LaTeX. I do quite a bit of research, so I spend a lot of time writing up my results.
And I care about the tools I use. I care deeply about the way my citations come out, and I have significant aesthetic opinions on the matter. I like author-date citation styles, much better than the horrible abbreviated alphabet soups so popular in mathematics styles, and much more pleasant to read than [1,2,5-7] as seems to be a dominant style in mathematical literature. If I see (Zomorodian, 2005) or even better (Edelsbrunner-Letscher-Zomorodian, 2000) I’ll know immediately what the reference is about when I read in my own field — whereas a citation of  forces me to leaf back to check what they mean.
This is a preview of
BibLaTeX — why haven’t I used this earlier!?
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- February 3rd, 2010
- 5:38 am
Eric Finster, over at Curious Reasoning has built a python script to allow you to write WordPress posts entirely in LaTeX , and upload them. The script parses the LaTeX code and generates HTML that expresses the same structure.
This, here, is me trying it out. With any luck, the appearance of a new toy will get me back to actually blogging some more – it’s been winding down a bit much here lately.
Based on the extensive discussion at the Secret Blogging Seminar on tools for long-distance collaborations, Scott Morrison writes an introduction to source control with subversion for research collaborators.
In this post, Scott also offers, quite magnanimously, to setup and host subversion repositories for any mathematician who happens to want to start collaborating using subversion.
Which, to my mind, immediately prompts the question: why stop there? I’ve had ideas about setting up a free and easy to use platform for modern communication in the mathematical community before; but they were along the lines of duplicating wordpress.com‘s efforts; which isn’t really something that pays off on your efforts. Reading this, though, raised a new idea.
Why not setup a server – preferably with a university data center as backing – which dispenses free platforms with the following contents:
- Source control. Preferably option on subversion, git, mercurial – or some such selection of modern and wide-spread systems.
This is a preview of
A vision for collaborative mathematics platforms
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One thing that has been bugging me for quite some time with AucTeX (which I love, in general) has been that I wasn’t able to reset the bloody hot key for math mode input.
The original setting maps to Shift-key left of backspace-space, since it’s an accent key which I occasionally use for .. y’know .. accenting letters, and thus don’t want immediate output from. And M-x set-variable LaTeX-math-abbrev-prefix didn’t do anything close to what I expected.
Today, I, on a whim, go and search the auctex mailing list archives for this. And lo and behold! One of the first messages tells me that I need to do M-x customize-variable LaTeX-math-abbrev-prefix. So I do, and it has my changes already, but not committed, so after committing the changes I try it out and it just works!
This should speed up usage of Emacs for me a bit.
I just tried installing the iTeX2MML plugin from Jacques Distler. This is what the n-Category Cafe use for their mathematics, and it gives a neated display than the LaTeXrender plugin I’ve been using so far.
It turns out, though, that
1. The plugin jumps on quoted perl code, interpreting it as mathematics. Bad things ensue.
2. It needs valid XHTML, which has not been a priority so far – and trying to validate it, the validator chokes on the &’s in my LaTeX array expressions for LaTeXrender.
Oh bugger. No iTeX and MathML for me.