Detexify: such a clever tool for LaTeX

Today I came across a really clever use of HTML5 technologies being applied to a common problem in LaTeX: finding the package and code for special symbols. It is called Detexify – it relies on HTML5 features so you need a fairly recent browser. I am really excited by the potential offered through the rising technologies of HTML5, SVG and the canvas element (among many others) and I can’t help wondering what wonderful authorship tools and interfaces will be developed to work in the browser. I know that SVG has been around for a long time, indeed I first started working with it more than 6 years ago, so it is nice to see it becoming “potentially mainstream” real soon… Already, gives a flavour of the possible with the canvas element. I can see innumerable applications of these technologies, especially in the domains of creating, writing and sharing scientific content. It is easy to imagine complete authoring applications being written to work in the browser, and surely it cannot be that far away: writing in the medium, for the medium.

Some TeX projects on

Just a quick post to flag up a couple of projects on

  • One for the Chinese TeX community: Quoting from the web site: “This project aims to bring together many existing efforts including xeCJK, zhspacing, LuaTeX related Chinese support, etc.”
  • The Y&Y TeX C source code: A great commercial Windows TeX system in its time and one I still have installed to this day. Cost me quite a lot of money, as I recall, but it worked really well, especally DVIPSONE (the PostScript Driver) and the DVI previewer DVIWindo which had the full support of Adobe Type Manager (you’ll see that in the C code!). Y&Y, Inc. ceased trading in 2004 and subsequently donated the source code to the TeX Users Group which has released the sources under the GNU GPL.