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.
Type of Material:
Mathematical typesetting at all levels from novice to professional.
A PC running WINDOWS 95/98/ME/2000/NT/XP operating system.
Identify Major 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.
Evaluation and Observation
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Full TeX implementation including various dialects (LaTeX, AMS versions etc.)
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? The included previewer (Yap) displays pages quickly and accurately (including colors and imported graphics in various formats).
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? PdfTeX and class=SpellE>pdfLaTeX, two utilities to directly create pdf files are included
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Includes tools for the creation of bibliographies and indexes.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? PostScript utilities allow image conversion to PostScript files.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Complete set of fonts as well as a font creation utility.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Extensive collection of styles and macros.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Works with several different languages.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? 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
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? 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.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Previewer offers a magnifying glass for spot checks of details.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Previewer style='color:black'> offers a direct printing tool supporting different resolutions.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Additional fonts can easily be installed.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? 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.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? The magnifying glass in the viewer does not magnify imported graphics.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? jpg graphics are not supported for viewing and printing.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? 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
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Installation from the downloaded files works without problems in the Windows environment.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? After installation, so far no further fine-tuning in parameter files was necessary for either reviewer.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Connection to other software such as class=SpellE>WinEdt as a graphical front end
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? A plethora of examples how to perform various tasks comes with MiKTeX.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? For registered users, the author provides patient and accurate support.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? 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.
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).