Scrivener Like Project Managers for Latex Papers

I will just say it, I love Scrivener, but I’m a scientist and don’t like the heavyweight way in which scrivener exports to LateX via multimarkdown. I usually just write my papers in scrivener and then manually convert them to latex. While this works, ideally there would be a software application that takes the best features of Scrivener, notes, metadata and the ability to rearrange sections, and combine this with the features of native LateX editors such as TexShop.

Is anyone aware of a program which is capable of viewing a LateX document in a way other than a single stream of lines?

If not, I think that I will create one.

It is a long, long way to getting the functionality that you already have in Scrivener – enough that I think it worth re-evaluating what the hang up is in your current process.

So, you are writing the LaTeX code yourself and compiling to straight text (rather than via Multimarkdown). You then open the text into your LaTex interface and compile it to see what the output will look like.

So, what you want is fast previewing of the tex output, and the part you wish to eliminate is the part where you have to open the compiled text and initiate processing of the tex code. Right?

If that is right, then it sounds to me like there must be much simpler options to try than the one you are contemplating.

  1. Imagine this: You switch to scrivenings mode so that everything that you want to bring over to tex it is showing as one document. With a keystroke you invoke a macro that does something like the following: selects all of the text in the current editor display, copies it, then it pastes it (destructively) into an open and waiting temp doc in your favorite LaTex app and then invokes the code processing. (Sorry about the failures of TeX speak here – been a long time since I messed with it. Voila, you have your preview and the only steps you took were a) swtich group mode to scrivenings, b) hit key command for the macro.

  2. Another possibility might be to create a watched folder which, when you targeted it with a Scrivener compile output, would automatically submit that output file to your tex code processor.


P.S. Another thing you might want to think about is whether your felt need to see tex output previews all the time is just a bad habit – in which case the fix for your workflow is just to break the bad habit.

The watched folder technique, either with AppleScript attached to the folder, or something like Hazel, has been discussed here before, and I believe someone even posted a set of scripts for doing this. Check in the MMD board (which doubles as a LaTeX geek board). There are also some tricks posted for generated a little procedural LaTeX where convenient, such as using the level based title prefix and suffix capabilities of the compiler to wrap the binder title in chapter, section, subsection and so on code. Gives you an agile outline without the MMD.

On the “service” style way of working, LaTeXiT might be a good solution. I’m not sure how well it works in bulk, I’ve only ever tried it for snippets and such, but theoretically you can enable a Service which will take your current buffer (Scrivenings session), pipe it to LaTeXiT, and end up with a rendered preview in the time it takes to do so. Naturally if you take that route, you’ll want headings in the text itself.

Otherwise, I can’t think of anything that is LaTeX specific that works like Scrivener. The closest would probably be LyX, but that has problems of heavy-handedness as well, just as bad as MMD I’d say. And managing a large document in LyX isn’t as nice as in Scrivener by a long shot—it is after all just modelled after the type word processor methodology of one long document.

I will cross post this in the MMD section

Ironically enough, I have to write an editor program for a software engineering course that I am taking.
Though the requirements for the project are fairly minimal, I would like to write some software that I would use.

The primary (initial)purpose would be for writing document class articles.
I think the features would be something like this:

  1. A sidebar which is organized into sections, sections having names which are converted to \section in latex. Under the sections would be an expandable list of subsections.

  2. The ability to rearrange defined sections a la scrivener

  3. Support for metadata, i.e., notes which are automatically put into the document in the form of comments

4)a compile feature which takes the organized sections and subsections, turns them into a flat document and provides the ability to view the document as a pdf.

  1. for bonus points, integration into bibliographic managment via a window which shows the citations that you are working with and has the ability to highlight in the document where the citation keys appear

There’s a program currently in beta called TeXnicle, which presents itself as a project organizer for LaTeX. I’ve only just started to look at it, but you might see if it’s what you’re looking for: