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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


MiKTeX

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jan 04, 2003 by Mathematics
Overview: MiKTeX is a full TeX implementation for WINDOWS PCs (TeX is a computer language designed for use in typesetting mathematics and other technical material.) Included are all major TeX dialects (TeX, LaTeX and their AMS versions), public domain font families, a fast and high-quality dvi viewer, PostScript and PDF converters, numerous macros, and examples. The code is downloadable as a self-installing set of files. Three sizes, small (~21MB download, ~100MB installed), large (~64MB download, ~200MB installed) and total (~150MB download, ~420MB installed) are available. The program is shareware and can be registered for $15.
Learning Goals: Mathematical typesetting in TeX.
Target Student Population: Anyone with a need to typeset mathematical text.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: The user should be familiar with TeX.
Type of Material: Reference material.
Recommended Uses: Mathematical typesetting at all levels from novice to professional.
Technical Requirements: A PC running WINDOWS 95/98/ME/2000/NT/XP operating system.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths:

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Full TeX
implementation including various dialects (LaTeX, AMS
versions etc.)


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The included previewer
(Yap) displays pages quickly and accurately (including
colors and imported graphics in various formats).


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PdfTeX and class=SpellE>pdfLaTeX, two utilities
to directly create pdf files are included


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Includes tools for
the creation of bibliographies and indexes.


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PostScript utilities
allow image conversion to PostScript files.


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Complete set of
fonts as well as a font creation utility.


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Extensive collection
of styles and macros.


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Works with several
different languages.

Concerns:

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Inclusion of a graphics program that produces class=SpellE>LaTeX picture environments (similar to class=SpellE>TeXCAD) would be great.


Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths:

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Previewer allows
?inverse search?: Once installed, a double-click on the class=GramE>dvi image brings the user to the corresponding place
in the editor (if a supported editor like WinEdT)
is used.


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Previewer offers a
magnifying glass for spot checks of details.


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Previewer style='color:black'> offers a direct printing tool supporting different
resolutions.


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Additional
fonts can easily be installed.


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Memory setup is deep enough to allow projects
up to books with (at least) 600 pages, hundreds of figures ( class=SpellE>LaTeX and imported) as well as thousands of
cross-references and a large index.

Concerns:

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The magnifying glass in the viewer does not
magnify imported graphics.


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jpg graphics are not
supported for viewing and printing.


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Not all major graphics formats are supported
for the generation of postscript files or for generation of class=SpellE>pdfs from postscript. For pdfs,
direct generation with pdfTeX and class=SpellE>pdfLaTeX is best. In this case all graphics to be
included should be converted to png. The class=SpellE>previewer also displays and prints included class=SpellE>pngs, so this should be the graphics format of choice.


Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths:

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Installation from the downloaded files works
without problems in the Windows environment.


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After installation,
so far no further fine-tuning in parameter
files was necessary for
either reviewer.


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Connection to other software such as class=SpellE>WinEdt as a graphical front end is simple.


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A plethora of examples how to perform various
tasks comes with MiKTeX.

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For registered users, the author provides
patient and accurate support.

Concerns:

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As with any UNIX-derived program,
documentation may be somewhat of a challenge for WINDOWS users. For novices,
knowledge of TeX
should be good enough though. As the user progresses, it becomes more natural
to look for the plentiful examples in the considerable directory tree that is
MiKTeX.


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Correspondingly, WINDOWS-style documentation
is a bit thin. Pointers to the various example files in a WINDOWS help
function might do wonders. This would be a large job, though.


Other Issues and Comments: This is the best TeX implementation for WINDOWS (maybe the best overall) that the reviewers are aware of. While TeX is standard and public domain, the many add-ons are helpful and the previewer is better than several commercial products. Most of our concerns and recommendations only came up in what we would consider ?sophisticated? uses of TeX (desktop publishing of a book).