When I was a student, I wrote pretty much all my works in LaTeX. I loved it because of the formula editor, which is really good.
However, LaTeX current WYSIWYG editors for MS Windows/OSX/GNU Linux are sometimes a pain for many reasons:
- It feels old-fashioned and awkward to use those ugly 90's-looking IDEs. Many bugs and poorly maintained communities.
- It does not work out of the box multiple times: missing libraries, for example.
- Not collaborative at all, unless you use some kind of version control tool like Git, when it is easier to maintain the sources of the document.
In general, I would say that it was complicated to get an stable and ready-to-write tool (What is the actual goal, not to spend hours debugging the source code of a tool).
Lately, I discovered sharelatex.com. ShareLaTeX is an open source collaborative Google Docs style LaTeX editor. Some of the great advantages are:
- It is a Node.JS app, written in CoffeeScript, and it is basically awesome. It uses MongoDB. And it is very nicely maintained, with beautiful code.
- There is a free version for one collaborator.
- And a fair premium version (15€/month for 10 users). The price is just nothing for the added value of the tool.
- You do not have to deal with complicated Set-up processes if you do not want to. If you want to, or you do not want to pay, ShareLaTeX is fully open source, hosted in GitHub.
- Every part of the code has been released, so you would be able to set up your collaborative environment for your school without any problem. The possibilities are just amazingly impressive.
The only possible disadvantage is that in the online version (hosted by ShareLaTeX), there could be some options or libraries that you may need and are not available yet. However, the passionate developers look really open to add any needed feature to the tool as the customers need them.
In one word, amazing.
Originally published at www.carlosbaraza.com on October 15, 2014.