Mathematica vs. $\LaTeX$? Replacement for Legacy "Authoring Tools" package?



I'd rather write in Mathematica than in $\LaTeX$, but it's not really practical, especially for big works (> 100 pages) without good tooling. I'm just starting to look into what's available for big works, but I haven't found any guidelines later than 2005 (e.g. this).

The specific things I need are numbering for all kinds of cells with cross-referencing, intelligent DIFFing (text diffing of notebooks doesn't work because every cell has gobs of timestamp info that is always different even if the contents of the cell aren't different), Bibliography, tables of contents, etc. I.e., $\LaTeX$-level tooling.

I've been scrounging around my grooveyard of forgotten favorites, that is, my big hoard of legacy books & notebooks & CD-ROMs, and there are many references to an old package called "Authoring Tools". For instance, a book by Heiki Ruskeepaa called "Mathematica Navigator" was written using Authoring tools. The book was written around Mathematica Version 5, and we're now at version 8.0.4. Then there is Michael Trott's Eulerian 4-volume opus "The Mathematica Guidebook," which appears to have been written entirely in MMA with Authoring tools.

Would anyone happen to know if Authoring Tools has been replaced by something similar but of another name? Superceded by built-in functionality? Ditched forever? Is there some other guidelines, conventions, recommendations, or other zeitgeist for writing big works in MMA?


Posted 2012-08-25T15:56:36.240

Reputation: 8 501

@Red.Cabin I think Michael Trott's books were not written using AuthorTools. Are people still interested in writing books with citations and bibliography entries and alike in Mathematica? I.e., would you want a better version of AuthorTools? – Rolf Mertig – 2015-02-25T12:17:49.400

2FWIW re: "(text diffing of notebooks doesn't work because every cell has gobs of timestamp info that is always different even if the contents of the cell aren't different)" are you aware you can turn off those time stamps? – Mr.Wizard – 2012-08-26T02:39:25.403

@Mr.Wizard no i wasn't aware of that! It will save me a ton of grief with git merges. In the options explorer I presume. – Reb.Cabin – 2012-08-26T04:30:43.587

@Mr.Wizard -- Found it: Editing Options/TrackCellChangeTimes – Reb.Cabin – 2012-08-26T04:53:42.503



An example of large publication project developed in Mathematica is CDF calculus book published by Pearson. Go to this link to look at a sample:

The author of CDF part of the book, Eric Schulz, gave a talk "Publishing a CDF ebook: an Author's Perspective" where he explains approaches to large publishing projects: typesetting, custom palettes, multi-notebook projetcs, etc. The Video and Mathematica slides of the talk can be found on Wolfram CDF Virtual Workshop 2012 page. It's a great talk ;-) This is a screenshot from official Wolfram page:


Vitaliy Kaurov

Posted 2012-08-25T15:56:36.240

Reputation: 66 672


It looks like AuthorTools is still around:

Mathematica graphics


Mathematica graphics


Posted 2012-08-25T15:56:36.240

Reputation: 19 146

1The documentation for AuthorTools is strange, too. It says (in AuthorTools/tutorial/MakeProject) that the root of the whole thing is "The Make Project dialog box," but I found no instructions about how to access that dialog box, and evaluating MakeProject[] does nothing. It's a circular maze with no entrance. – Reb.Cabin – 2015-07-12T13:14:24.357

2I haven't tried using AuthorTools and don't know it works now, but, since your title includes MMA vs LaTeX, I'll just mention that I used lyx and latex to write long documents, not mathematica. This is because, as you pointed out, longer documents are difficult to work with in mma (and I do need cross-references and equations, so basically I'm left with latex or lyx). – acl – 2012-08-25T16:17:51.653

4I have tried AuthorTools before and it doesn't seem to be really compatible with anything after v5. – Sjoerd C. de Vries – 2012-08-25T17:08:25.080

1+1 @SjoerdC.deVries it has been put to one side and not updated. Meanwhile citations have been added in V8 (for windows). So one step forward, two steps back for Mma (print) authors. – Mike Honeychurch – 2012-08-25T23:48:23.687

3@MikeHoneychurch I am not sure about the 1 step forward two back; it seems more like .5 forward, 10 back. just look at the video Vitaliy linked to; it basically explains how to set up a document-writing environment in mma, not how to use mma's features. i don't think i'd be willing to do this much work if I can just download lyx and start typing, ending up with better-looking documents (even if they're completely inert). I never used AuthorTools but it looks like it made mma into a reasonable document-preparation environment. – acl – 2012-08-26T15:08:49.647

@acl AuthorTools plus a few custom palettes of the type that many regulars here could readily construct made Mma quite good for making print ready documents. Not LaTeX, we know that, but good nonetheless. – Mike Honeychurch – 2012-08-27T01:02:28.857

1@MikeHoneychurch It doesn't have to be that good; I'd use it for my notes if it was half functional (and actually spend a couple of months trying, with the result that I had to export a few hundreds of pages to latex when I gave up in the end; not fun) – acl – 2012-08-27T09:59:01.497