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How to easily type your (scientific) notes with TexMacs

Useful Knowledge · Youtube · 63 HN points · 0 HN comments
HN Theater has aggregated all Hacker News stories and comments that mention Useful Knowledge's video "How to easily type your (scientific) notes with TexMacs".
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Nov 26, 2022 · 63 points, 23 comments · submitted by amichail
KeenWrite is my free, cross-platform, open-source text editor that supports plain TeX[0]. The editor converts Markdown into XHTML that's then fed into ConTeXt for later typesetting. Take a look at section 9.9.1 of my high-level design document[1] to see some sample output. I primarily developed KeenWrite to put interpolated variables at my fingertips[2].




The thing about notes is that I have gotten really used to have them available across all my devices. When I'm in a meeting I might want to jot down or cross off an item from my phone. When I'm on a train or plane I'd use my iPad. At my desk it will be my Macbook.

Texmacs notes will be available only on devices where I can install texmacs, which excludes the iPhone and iPad.

Currently, Obsidian + cloud storage ticks all boxes for me. It is free, works across all devices. It uses Markdown so it's quite readable even unrendered, and the renderer works without requiring any kind of compilation.

Even smoother is Apple Notes, but without maths support (which I rarely need in notes though).

For scientific notes I'm really liking Jupyter notebooks using the MyST save option. All the pluses of Jupyter as a simple text markdown format, I can commit, diff, easily switch to another editor if I like
FWIW, texmacs files are encoded like any other markup language. This makes it the texmacs files very easy for any git-fu.
It's a real shame that the "R Markdown" format never caught on, basically just Markdown with fenced code blocks that also act as runnable cells. I think RStudio really dropped the ball on marketing it outside of the R community, starting with its name (implying that it only works for R) and tying the reference implementation to R (the Knitr package).

I haven't looked at MyST before, but it looks very much inspired by R Markdown (and of course without so much as a nod thereto anywhere on its website). I also wonder if it is a distinct Markdown dialect from CommonMark, or if it is a superset of CommonMark?

It would be pretty cool to use MyST inside my code editor (Vim? Emacs? VS Code?) to run code blocks, essentially what R Markdown is/was. Or does that already exist? I would love to start using that instead of or in addition to notebooks.

I really hate to see so much fragmentation in this space. It's just a markup language, I don't see why everyone needs to have their own special snowflake variant. It feels like everyone wants to be the one to strike it big and achieve fame and glory, and they'd rather not collaborate too much with others lest they risk losing their chance to be the big winner.

Edit: I stand corrected! Yes, they directly reference R Markdown as a source of inspiration in the specification, which also states that MyST is indeed a superset of CommonMark: I'll definitely want to try this out then, thanks for the recommendation!

You are welcome, I only learned of it a few weeks ago and it solves a lot of problems. It's still relatively new, so while jupyter notebooks / lab support, using it inside other editors with runnable code blocks is still a work in progress. VS Code looks to have an extension for previewing the markdown, but I dont think it can run python code blocks in it (for now).

I agree with you, RStudio's R Markdown feature was my favorite part about it, easily wrote my assignments for a statistics class with it.

For more about MyST check out the talk I recently was introduced to it

I think Rstudio made a decent attempt to address that marketing problem. They introduced Quarto as a language-agnostic R Markdown.

Quarto is great. Basically ipynb markdown plus pandoc, and so far my experiences with it have been that it Just Works.
How well does it work with Python or Julia as well as R? Does it support Jupyter kernels, or does it use its own system?
It works with all three. Jupyter is supported as an "engine". Although I haven't tried, it sounds like any Jupyter kernel will work.
Does anybody know of plugins for code editors like Eclipse, Intellij ect where I could type in latex eq into function comments and it gets rendered into a proper math form? If not directly in the editor windows, but Let's say on mouse hover over, like a tool tip?
The definitive book on TeXmacs written by TeXmacs original author himself:

The Jolly Writer:

Surprised it was not available on LibGen.

I prefer PDFs these days rather than hardcopy ...

If op is affiliated with texmacs, your website ( is down.
I would have expected this to be about overleaf not texmaxlcs..
بحوث علميه
TeXmacs is one of those software projects that would see a lot more use if it had a better name. A lot of people just assume it’s an emacs package for editing LaTeX and overlook it, when in reality it has nothing to do with emacs or LaTeX.
I was finding myself wondering why they would name it TeXmacs when it has nothing to do with emacs.

Turns out that historically it did;

> It originated as GNU Emacs with TeX functionalities, though it shares no code with those programs, while using TeX fonts.

I agree, they ought to change the name. TeXmacs seems interesting indeed, and I almost didn't check it out because I don't use emacs.

I legitimately assumed it was this exact combination…… Good to know it isn’t!
LaTeX can virtually produce anything I need/want:

- algorithm pseudocode

- cooking recipe

- flowchart

- Karnaugh map

- chess board notation

- etc

Beautiful output, but sometimes the process isn't easy. Does Texmacs over some advantages over LaTex? If yes, I'm willing to learn. I use various tools for typing LaTeX code: sometimes vim, sometimes Texmaker, sometimes Lyx.

Once I'm tempted to replace LaTeX with AsciiDoctor, unfortunately it lacks the ability to write complex math equations into PDF file.

> Does Texmacs over some advantages over LaTex? If yes, I'm willing to learn.

Yes. Watch the video, it explains everything.

Yeah I assumed this too and have mentioned this problem before.
... thank you for mentioning; it had never occurred to me that it might be anything but an EMACS package for LaTeX. Now I'm more interested:)
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