[Aleph] off-topic: unicode editors (was: OTP and verbatim)

Firmicus at ankabut.net Firmicus at ankabut.net
Tue Apr 5 15:19:50 CEST 2005


Many many weeks ago, Idris Samawi Hamid wrote:

>
> Eventually I want to c a TeX-friendly Unicode editor so I can dispense 
> with transcriptions for the most part...
>
 [NB: This is somewhat off-topic but I thought some readers of this list 
might appreciate.]

Nowadays I seldom use transcriptions, except when entering individual, 
rarely-used characters or symbols.

May I suggest some open-source TeX-friendly Unicode editors that work on 
multiple platforms?

*jEdit* (www.jedit.org) is a user-friendly, full-featured, extensible 
programmer's editor. It natively supports unicode and has a simple but 
efficient LaTeX support in the form of syntax highlightning,  a third 
party plug-in, clip-ins, etc.  This editor is written entirely in Java, 
so it may be a bit slow to start, especially on older machines. It has 
become quite popular even outside the Javacentric world. It is great for 
XML editing too.

My favorite is *VIM* (www.vim.org <http://www.vim.org>), a fantastic 
editor with excellent latex support (see vim-latex-suite.sf.net 
<http://vim-latex-suite.sf.net>) and full unicode support. You can 
define your own keymaps to type Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, Greek, etc. 
(even CJK). True bidirectionality is not yet implemented but you can 
switch from LR to RL display. I seriously tried VIM only recently (of 
course I had met old vi in the early '90s on Unix ...), and it has since 
become my editor of choice.

I am not a fan of *emacs* (a simple matter of taste, not ideology), but, 
combined with AucTeX, it certainly makes a very powerful LaTeX editor. 
Unicode support is good but I think not as advanced as with VIM. I never 
tried MULE since it does not support Arabic script. There also exists a 
small and fast emacs clone called *qEmacs* 
(http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemacs/) with built-in support for 
bidirectional display, full Unicode support and built-in latex-mode. Its 
current development is not very active, though, and I don't know whether 
many people use it, but it is worth a try!! I think it would be an ideal 
editor on a handheld computer.

Now for specific platforms:

Under GNU/Linux with KDE there is *kile* (which stands for _K_DE 
_I_ntegrated _L_aTeX _E_nvironment). It is certainly at least as good as 
*WinEdt* (if not actually much better), and like most modern Linux 
applications, it supports Unicode. If you enjoy WinEdt on Windows and 
are ready to switch to Linux, you will love it.

For easy typing of uncommon scripts and alphabets, the following two 
well-known Unicode editors are fine:
*SC Unipad *(commercial, unipad.org <http://www.unipad.org>) is a good 
multilingual Unicode editor for Windows, and *yudit* (www.yudit.org 
<http://www.yudit.org>) is an open source alternative with several nice 
features. Both editors only offer the most basic editing tools, however, 
so that you wouldn't use them as "real" editors.

For Mac OS X there exists a complete TeX typesetting system with Unicode 
and Mac OS X font technology, called *XeTeX*, which combined with 
*TeXShop* (a TeX GUI, see 
http://www.uoregon.edu/~koch/texshop/texshop.html 
<http://www.uoregon.edu/%7Ekoch/texshop/texshop.html>) seems to deliver 
a fantastic typesetting environment. XeTeX's url is: 
http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&item_id=xetex
<http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&item_id=xetex>... 
Makes me wish I had a PowerMac :-)

Hope this is useful.

François
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