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Lyx is an accessible source, structured certificate apperception system. Conceptually, it avalanche about amid a markup editor and a chat processor. The creators of Lyx accept coined the appellation WYSIWYM (what you see is what you mean) to summarise the access that Lyx takes to certificate creation.
The accepted abiding adaptation of Lyx is the afresh appear 1.4.4. However, on the 21st of Feb 2007, the aggregation appear the aboriginal beta of 1.5.0. The development aggregation clearly abutment builds for Linux, MacOSX and Windows. Added users can, of course, body from source.
In this article, I’ll accord an overview of Lyx and try to awning some of the new appearance that accept been alien in 1.5.0. Lyx is a absolute able affairs and contains too abounding appearance to account here. In truth, in an commodity of this length, I wouldn’t alike be able to awning best of the new appearance of 1.5.0, so, I’ll accord you an overview of some of the appearance that I accomplish use of in my day to day use.
An overview of Lyx
The active concepts abaft Lyx’s access are the break of agreeable from formatting and structured certificate creation. Lyx apparently isn’t the apparatus for every blazon of writing. Where is shines is in the apperception of abstracts such as reports, accessories and books.
The break of agreeable and formatting.
Hand alteration mark-up such as HTML in a argument editor would be an acute archetype of break of agreeable and formatting. Aback alteration markup in this way, the user uses tags to specify the formatting, alive that the accomplished certificate will attending absolute altered from the antecedent code.
Most wordprocessors represent the added acute as they attack to accord the user a WYSIWYG representation of the certificate while the user is alteration it.
I can highlight one weakness of this access with an example:
What if I capital to use an abnormal chantry on allotment of the document? Aural a chat processor, I would accept to absolutely adapt appliance that font, behindhand of its usability. I could break this botheration by appliance a added aloof chantry aback alteration and again change aback to adapted chantry for book out. Unfortunately, as you change the font, all of the certificate blueprint alters about it. Accession botheration with this access is that, in my experience, a action of this array is apt to animate errors to edge into the artistic process.
The above-mentioned archetype ability assume somewhat apish but a added accepted botheration would be that a lot of people, such as myself, like to use a sans-serif chantry as a awning chantry while preferring the attending of a serif chantry on the printed page.
Ideally, the user shouldn’t be ever anxious with blueprint and formatting while he or she is creating the content.
Another weakness of WYSIWYG becomes credible on projects in which the accomplished certificate will charge to be adapted from one architecture to another. In best chat processors, the user is chargeless to add formatting that has no absolute acceptation in affiliation to the content. Such inconsistencies ability not alike be credible aback alteration the document. However, appearance such as added spaces and carrying allotment are interpreted absolutely by about-face programs, with potentially abstract after-effects for the clairvoyant of the ambition document.
To use an analogy, often, aback teaching accession how to use a word-processor, it is difficult to argue them of the accent of appliance tabs as adjoin to spaces. To the amateur they are both agnate as they attending the above on screen.
As I said earlier, Lyx strikes a hardly altered antithesis to that of a chat processor aback it comes to the accord amid blueprint and content.
Lyx sits on top of a absolute publishing markup accent alleged Latex. The user is adequate from the absolute markup language. For example, I use Lyx absolutely a lot and I can’t anticipate of any Acrylic tags, off hand. However, the user can access absolute Acrylic into the certificate (ERT – Evil Red Text, as Lyx calls it) on the occasions aback it is needed. One use for this would be that the user ability appetite to accomplish use of a hardly beneath accepted affection such as starting a numbered bulleted account with a amount added than 1. Acrylic is all-inclusive and the affairs are, if there is commodity you appetite to do in agreement of typesetting, there is a way of accomplishing it aural Latex.
Latex is additionally adaptable and there abide abounding add-ons to do abnormal things such as abacus Acrylic commands to handle abnormal formatting requirements. For example, if you were autograph an bookish address for a account with some awe-inspiring formatting requirements, you’d apparently be able to acquisition a acrylic chic that can abutment it.
Don’t worry, alike admitting it’s mark-up underneath, Lyx does reflect things such as chantry admeasurement and weight, visually, onscreen in abundant the above way as chat processor.
As the Lyx editor is not focused about certificate layout, the argument artlessly re-wraps to window size. This agency that you don’t accept to assignment abounding awning all of the time. This comes in accessible when, for example, I am demography addendum from a web page.
In those cases, I alpha by authoritative the Lyx window small. On my KDE setup, anniversary window has a “stay at front” ascendancy on it and I actuate that. I can again assignment with the webpage in the accomplishments and after abhorrence of the Lyx window abashing things or accepting pushed to the back. To do the above in a chat processor, I accept that I would accept to change the margins or adapt the zoom agency of the document.
I’m not abundant of a mathematician myself but alike I have, on occasion, fabricated some baby use of the powerful, chip algebraic editor.
The structured approach
As it sits on top of markup, Lyx imposes some restrictions, in agreement of certificate layout. For example, in Lyx, the purpose of a carrying acknowledgment is to end a branch and alpha a new one. Consequently, if the user hits acknowledgment a additional time, annihilation happens. This is because, in Lyx, a carrying acknowledgment is acclimated to mark the end of a paragraph, rather than to actualize added white space.
This ability assume akin at first, but like a lot of structured approaches to artistic things, it is a adage that if you can’t accompaniment why you capital to add an aspect – or in added words what its acceptation was – it’s usually an adumbration that the abstraction was not as able-bodied conceived as it should accept been. Aback you charge a appropriate allotment of formatting, appoint that as allotment of the appearance of the document. It ability accept been apparent, to you, what you meant by some ad-hoc formatting, but it ability not be as accessible to the being who has to use your document.
The basal assemblage of agreement in Lyx is the paragraph. Every aspect of the certificate should be independent aural a paragraph. Anniversary branch has, associated with it, a style. For example, a annex appellation is branch with the appearance of “subsection”. Aloft abacus a new area header, the certificate anatomy is updated; so, if the user has added a table of capacity at the alpha of the document, the new area will be added to the contents.
As you ability expect, there are styles for things like quote, quotation, ammo lists and description of agreement paragraphs.
The user is able to browse the certificate anatomy in the certificate overview. Lyx appearance a bead bottomward menu-based anatomy browser that looks a bit like a dynamically generated adaptation of the bookmarks card of a web browser.
In accession to this, Lyx offers a pop up browser dialogue. With the appearance of 1.5.0, the developers accept added the abundant requested affection of acceptance the user to move sections up and bottomward in adjustment to move accomplished sections about the document. Sections can additionally be acknowledgment or demoted from aural this dialogue.
If the user chooses, the chapters, parts, sections, subsections and subsections can be automatically numbered.
Graphics and tables
When abacus a table or clear figure, you can admit anon into the document. However, a bigger use of Lyx functionality is to admit the table or amount into a amphibian frame. Such a amphibian anatomy can be confused about the certificate by the book algorithm aback the accomplished certificate is exported. Don’t worry, the clairvoyant won’t apart the table or anatomy as an ballast can be absorbed to it so that aback the argument says commodity like “see amount #6 for an example”, Lyx can be told to add commodity like, “in area 3.2 on folio 32” or “on the abutting page” to the accomplished document.
Support for book formats.
One of Lyx’s strengths is its abutment for altered book formats.
Being based aloft mark-up, Lyx is decidedly accomplished at exporting to added mark-up based formats such as HTML. You can add about any architecture to Lyx, as a consign format, as continued as you accept a command band apparatus to catechumen from latex.
For example, I accept my Lyx bureaucracy so that I can achievement avant-garde CSS HTML or 2.0 HTML, depending on what I need. To do this I had to first, aural the GUI, add a “file format” that I alarm “HTML (modern)”. I again added a “converter” alleged “latex to html”. I associated with this the command band “htlatex $$i” (htlatex is a command band apparatus for converting amid html and latex). I went through a agnate action aback abacus an exporter for HTML 2.0. I use HTML 2.0 in cases in which the acquiescence action for an commodity specifies that alone a baby subset of basal tags can be used.
If you can acquisition a apparatus to catechumen a architecture from Latex, you should be able to add it as a advocate for use with Lyx. As standard, Lyx is set up to consign a scattering of accepted formats such as HTML, PDF and RTF. This is how I like to assignment with the program, and personally, if the developers were to abolish press functionality from them program, I wouldn’t absence it.
When outputting to a architecture such as accession or PDF, the blueprint is handled by the time-served TEX engine. This agent gives the accomplished certificate a polished, able attending that is uncannily like that of a argument book.
In 1.5.0, authoritative a quick analysis of the certificate rendered aural the PDF eyewitness of your best is now as simple as beat on a toolbar icon.
With ascribe formats, things get alike better. You can bureaucracy converters in adjustment to acquiesce you to acceptation altered certificate types. However, it gets bigger still as you can set up converters that acquiesce you to absolutely absorb assorted files into Lyx.
For example, I like creating my diagrams in Inkscape. Unfortunately, Lyx doesn’t appear with SVG abutment congenital in. To antidote this, I added the book blazon and some converters. Subsequently, I can now add SVG diagrams anon into the document. To be rendered onscreen, Lyx converts to into a bitmap format. Aback exporting to PDF, it converts the antecedent book into a agent architecture that the PDF advocate understands.
If you can acquisition a apparatus to catechumen your book into EPS (encapsulated postscript), you can assignment with it in Lyx.
External accoutrement and extensions
For some functionality, Lyx requires the abetment of alien tools.
One archetype of this would be aback authoritative use of a Bibtex architecture bibliography database. For example, if I capital to adduce the antecedent of a quotation, I aboriginal bang on the “insert citation” icon. Having done this, I can again chase aural and baddest an access from the database as my source. Altered bookish disciplines accept altered conventions for commendation architecture but I accept Lyx bureaucracy so that it places a cardinal aural aboveboard brackets. At the end of the document, Lyx can abode a key to all of the citations in the document.
However, to absolutely admit an access into the Bibtex database, an alien apparatus charge be used. This agency that the above Bibtex database can be acclimated amid assorted abstracts and with any allotment of software that understands the format. There are a lot of Bibtex accoutrement accessible but I use a KDE app alleged KBib.
Obviously, Lyx isn’t an appointment suit. Graphics editing, for example, charge be done with alien tools.
Another way that Lyx can be broadcast is through the use of certificate classes. As supplied, Lyx comes with certificate classes for assorted types of book, report, commodity and some abstruse formats such as those that attach to assorted accurate and bookish account specifications. In addition, it additionally comes with a cine and a stage-play class.
Lyx is broadly acclimated and has abundant association acknowledging it. Analysis out the commitment account annal on the website. If you accept a botheration that you can’t acknowledgment via the documentation, the user commitment account should be your abutting stop. In addition, whenever I accept interacted with the developers, I accept begin them to be accessible and absolutely absorbed in user opinions.
I anticipate that the affection of a abutment association is an important affection that is generally disregarded aback bodies are assessing a new allotment of software.
New in 1.5.x
Lyx is so big that that it contains abounding appearance that I will apparently never alike visit, although their blank ability accept been a deal-breakers for added people. The new Unicode abutment would be an archetype of such a feature. That said, I ability account from Unicode abutment in the approaching if it enables interoperability with new third-party tools.
As I said above, aural this overview, I am alone able to blemish the apparent of the new features, but the ones that I am decidedly attractive advanced to exploring include: the comment support, the added table support, the above enhancements of the area browser and the new MDI interface.
The GUI has had a adapt for 1.5.x and it now makes use of QT4. The 1.4.x alternation had somehow absent some of its GUI acceleration aback compared with 1.3.x. The developers were acquainted of this and accept apparent the achievement problems that had gradually crept in.
In general, while autograph this commodity in the 1.5.x beta, it seems as admitting every card and toolbar has been appearance an accessory of some sort.
Criticisms of Lyx
Obviously, Lyx isn’t adequate for every blazon of certificate creation.
Lyx is advised for the apperception of abstracts such as reports, accessories and books. If I were accustomed the assignment of creating a certificate with apart formatting, such as a leaflet, I would apparently use Accessible Appointment Word. Also, although I am abiding that journals and such accept been created with Acrylic in the past, accustomed the assignment of creating a book magazine, I would be added absorbed to use Accessible Appointment or conceivably alike a fully-fledged DTP package.
In general, one is sometimes bigger accomplishing things “the Lyx way” as adjoin to alive adjoin Lyx in agreement of formatting.
Quirky user interface
It has to be said that Lyx is a bit arbitrary in allegory with a accepted chat processor. To actualize annihilation above the best basal document, best users would charge to attending at the Lyx documentation. Lyx ships with certificate classes for things like belletrist or a CV but I would agnosticism that alike the best accomplished chat processor user would be able to actualize abstracts of those types after authoritative use of the Lyx manual.
I anticipate that too abundant is fabricated of GUI bendability these days. For an appliance that is advised for occasional, accidental use, a user interface that complies with accepted conventions is a must. However, in the case of an appliance that is activity to be acclimated for continued periods of time, for austere work, I anticipate that a user interface that requires some acquirements time is acceptable. This is why bodies who do absolute agreeable apperception favour appearance such as keyboard shortcuts.
In summary, I accede it to be adequate to advance some time in acquirements a apparatus that is activity to be acclimated for austere activity work. On the added hand, a being who ability address two or three belletrist a year, ability be bigger off with a added accepted chat processor.
Lyx is a affably advantageous tool, in both apperception and execution, and I would acclaim that anyone who is absorbed in autograph analysis it out.
Lyx absolutely isn’t a “do everything” argument editor but I anticipate that it’s a abashment that added bodies don’t apperceive about it. It’s additionally a abashment that there isn’t some austere accumulated absorption in developing it. I’m larboard apprehensive what accoutrement big organisations absolutely use to actualize their documentation. Duke accounting mark-up? A chat processor?
A apparatus like Lyx creates allows agreeable creators to apply on what they should be apperception on: the apperception of the content. As needed, the abstracts can be anxiously exported to whatever architecture is bare at the time. The adorableness of Lyx, is that you can actualize all of your agreeable from aural one allotment of software, behindhand of the closing achievement format.
About the author:
Mike is an boilerplate super-turbo-geek and already approved to ask a woman out appliance set-theory. By the time he drew a big amphitheater about the attribute that represented him and the attribute that represented her, she had realised what he was accepting at and fabricated a run for it. Analysis out his website: The Unmusic Website.