Faster and more comfortable LaTeX editing and previewing with latexmk

When writing LaTeX documents I usually just edit the plain text in vim, and in another xterm I type make && xpdf foo.pdf to regenerate the PDF output and view it in xpdf. This is tedious and slow if you do it often. A much better way I found out about now, is to use latexmk.

apt-get install latexmk

This tool autogenerates a PDF or PostScript file out of your *.tex file(s), so it would make my Makefile obsolete. But the much better thing is that it has a preview mode:

latexmk -pvc -pdfps foo.tex

This generates a PDF out of foo.tex (and its dependencies, if any), and refreshes the PDF every time the foo.tex file gets updated (i.e., every time I type :w in vim). So I can now leave the xpdf instance open all the time, and it'll be refreshed automatically to show the latest version of my document.

Caveat: in xpdf you have to press (for example) "next page" and then "previous page" (SPACE, BACKSPACE) to refresh the screen. Leaving out the "-pdfps" makes the regeneration process a bit faster and uses xdvi for previewing as dvi (instead of PDF) which does not require the above SPACE+BACKSPACE hack. But I like xpdf better than xdvi, so I'll stick with it.

Vim 7 released!

A new major version of our favorite text editor vim [1] has been released!

Yes, that's that awesome text-mode editor your geeky friends keep telling you about, the one that many people use since many years and still haven't explored more than 20% of its features [2]. I'm well aware that if you're a vim user you probably have already heard about it, but I'm blogging the news here one more time, just in case ;-)

I think the most interesting new features for me will be tabs, omni-completion, and "browsing remote directories, zip and tar archives" from within vim (no need to fire up mc anymore). A more complete list of new features is available in the release announcement.

[1] Emacs users are allowed to start flaming now...
[2] Now, this may sound like I'm talking about Emacs here, but I'm actually not ;-)

Google Vim?

Google has hired Bram Moolenaar, author of vim.

I bet the next beta-service Google announces will be "Google Vim" ;-) Or maybe not...


Emacs Quote of the Day

I'm way too tired to write something longer than a few lines right now, but before I go to bed, here's a quote by Sean McGrath which Made My Day™:

Emacs is like a laser guided missile. It only has to be slight mis-configured to ruin your whole day.

Yes, I use vim. Yes, I always put on my asbestos underwear at night.

(via the law of averages)

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