iTeX verson 1.6, coming soon:
Project Gutenberg: LaTeX versions of the original files are now used when available from PG. This especially includes a number of math and physic texts and lectures.
At the moment, I am watching for translation problems on almost a daily basis. If one of your translations fails, it is possible that it is fixed in the following day or so. You can follow my efforts in the translation log, mentioned above.
Book readers offer a new way to store and read documents, but they are a challenge to high quality text layout. Ebook users are accustomed to selecting reader orientation, typeface, and font size. We probably cannot run TeX over a document every time a reader shifts position in his chair.
iTeX is an experimental document bundle format and a free iPad application that present documents exactly as they were rendered by LaTeX. The bundle (a tar of a standardized directory structure) contains precomputed page images for portrait and landscape layouts, in standard and large type versions. I hope this may be a suitable standard to encourage similar applications on devices like the Nook or the many versions of the Kindle, included in the same bundle.
The iTeX app is available for the iPad at no charge from the iTunes store.
iTeX reads iTeX bundles, which are tar bundles of directories prepared in a special layout. If you have loaded the app, and tap on an iTeX bundle link on the Internet, the app will download and display the document.
Of course, iTeX is quite new and not widely adopted (yet: one can hope!) So, to try it out, you need to either generate your own bundle from an existing LaTeX document, or you can try the iTeX document translation service.
The app gives web access to Project Gutenberg and arXiv.org. You can select a document from either library, and iTeX will attempt to translate it for you to a bundle. This works quite well with Project Gutenberg books; it only works for about half of the scientific documents on arXiv, according to my tests. But when it does, you get a nicely-formatted LaTeX output for exactly the iPad's size and resolution.
In principle, automatic translations of TeX and LaTeX documents require human intervention. Don Knuth is quite adamant about this, and he is right. Really good formatting requires human judgment, and even some rewriting of the text.
But this service is an adequate starting point. I will be making the generated LaTeX documents available for download. Perhaps someone will clean up the results.
The library browser opens up the PG web page. Find the desired document and tap it. You will go to the translation page and, if the translation works, a button to download it will appear.
ArXiv documents are a little trickier, in a couple ways: they are harder
to translate automatically, and one has to tap on the right download option.
The option to select is
I monitor the translation service to try to get the bugs out and give better results. But I do not record any information about the source of the translation requests, or the bundle downloads.
A quick start guide is available at the beginning of this bundle generation guide. It contains some boilerplate that will help you generate an iTeX bundle quickly from an exisiting LaTeX document of your own.
Though a well-formatted TeX or LaTeX document requires the human touch, scripts can often generate plausibly good documents automatically. Scripts and more complete documentation are available if you wish to dive in further.
iTeX works pretty well, I have read dozens of documents and a number of books with it. But it certainly isn't full-featured compared to the commercial readers. This is party due to staffing limitations: I am one part-time person, versus entire development teams.
There are also some deep technical difficulties. The strength of this approach is that the document is fully documented and the final version is available to the author and document designer. The difficulty is that the supplied page images lack a lot of data needs for functions that, say, need to know the location of a word that can be looked up, defined, copied, etc. TeX, and hence LaTeX, does not easily support hooks that work at the word level, which means any solution is likely to be a kludge.
But there are a number of features it should and will have, if the world seems interested.
I welcome comments, bug fixes, etc.:
ches at cheswick.com
Last modified: January 2013