You Had Me With the LaTeX Tools

Rob Conery has fallen in love with a text editor.

O-kay …

I’ve had a look on Sublime Text 2 some time last year and I remember it as an editor with an unhealthy tendency towards:

  • preference settings based on textual configuration files1
  • dark themes2

But, why, let’s have another look and, maybe, share the excitement. My first impression of Sublime Text 2 was not much different from what I have seen last year. Granted, it a has modern-looking GUI but the text-based preferences still doesn’t agree with me.

I can see that text-based configuration has a point if there are plenty of configuration parameters to deal with. Text files scale a lot better than preference dialogs when it comes to a big number of stuff to control. So, maybe, I should be easy on this aspect.

I dived a little deeper into the search results and found out that there’s a vibrant community around Sublime Text 2 who are actively developing extensions (called packages) for Sublime Text 2.

One of these packages is called LaTeX Tools and it caught my interest as I tend to create all documents that end up on either print or PDF in LaTeX. I installed the LaTex Tools by means of the Package Control and was instantly blown away by the beauty of the cooperation between Sublime Text 2 and Skim.

A flawlessly working full round-trip between LaTeX source and rendered PDF set up in seconds! That means instant retirement for TexShop, as far as I’m concerned.

Last week, I have (on Windows) set up a very similar tool chain consisting of UltraEdit3, MikTex, and Sumatra PDF, but that (although not a big deal) was nowhere near as easy as with Sublime Text 2 and Skim.

I have to admit that I was immediately sold to this experience. However, there are still some rough edges4 on Sublime Text 2 that I’d like to see fixed more sooner than later.

For example, I have trouble finding a way to add word to the spell-checker’s dictionary. I’d expect this functionality to be delivered from a context menu but, unfortunately, no cigar. It does also not seem as if it was possible to manually add words to the dictionary file. And never mind the Internet, it just ignores my pain.

After all, I can sort of see what happened to Rob. His aha supposedly was Sublime Text 2’s vintage mode, I fell for the LaTeX tools. To each his own …

  1. Welcome to the 21st century!

  2. Maybe I have spent too much time in front of an amber or green glowing 12” CRT to appreciate a dark theme. Let the sun shine in, that’s all I have to say.

  3. Because, let’s face it, TeXnicCenter is a pain-in-the-ass.

  4. Sublime Text 2 is officially still in beta.