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[O] Org, latex and asymptote in a math project

From: Jarmo Hurri
Subject: [O] Org, latex and asymptote in a math project
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2011 15:23:46 +0300
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.2 (gnu/linux)


Been exploring org, done some examples, and even bought the t-shirt
because I was so impressed.

In addition to using org to keep my personal faq and notes, I am
currently evaluating the use of org in a major math writing project that
will stretch over several years. My standard math tools are latex,
asymptote, R and maxima, and I see org as a great opportunity to
integrate these.

The overall plan is to do the work in org and then export as both pdf
and html. To this end I did a quick test in which I came up with a few
ideas and questions. It has been many years since I have done any
serious Lisp programming, but in the long run I might be able to
implement the ideas if they would be acceptable.

1. If I have understood correctly, in order for an asymptote image to be
   included as an inline image, one has to specify a file name at the
   beginning of the code block, as in

   #+CAPTION: A test caption.
   #+begin_src asymptote :file foo.pdf
   size (1cm, 0);
   filldraw (unitsquare, red);

   It would be convenient if the user would not need to specify a
   (unique) invented file name for the inline image. Instead, in the
   case of an exported pdf, as an end user I would like for asymptote to
   generate a unique temporary pdf image file, which would be removed
   after the pdf corresponding to the complete document was
   complete. The case of exported html is not as clear to me yet; my
   current guess is that I would like the system to automatically
   generate a uniquely named image file (preferably an svg image, but
   not sure which browsers support these) which would then be inline
   included into the html page.

   Do these ideas get any support? What would be the best way to denote
   this kind of behaviour? A new option for "#begin_src asymptote",
   e.g., "#begin_src asymptote :autoinline"? Or perhaps
   "#begin_src asymptote :autofile"?

2. At least for me, _by far_ the most common way of referring to a
   floating element (table or figure) is immediately before or after the
   latex code that defines the float. For this, having to generate a
   unique label for the float has always been an overkill, and I have
   wanted a way to just refer to the previous or next float in the
   document. In org this could mean something like specifying
   #+AUTOLABEL and then some way of referring to the labels of the next
   and previous float (regardless of whether they would be automatically
   generated labels or standard named labels). Any support for this? Any
   ideas regarding the syntax?

3. It seems that currently inline images generated by asymptote are
   included in the resulting latex file with a default size
   width=.9\linewidth. I prefer them to be included in their original
   size. To achieve this I first tried to define

   (setq org-export-latex-image-default-option "")

   This did not help: in the resulting latex file, the size was now
   defined as width=.7\textwidth, which seems to come from
   org-latex.el. Finally I obtained the wanted behaviour by artificially
   defining the option to some value that does not cause any harm; in my

   (setq org-export-latex-image-default-option "keepaspectratio=true")

   Like I said, this is artificial. Is there a more natural way to
   achieve the desired result, that is, inclusion of images in their
   original size? Would it be ok if the code were changed so that

   (setq org-export-latex-image-default-option "")

   would override the width=.7\textwidth coming from org-latex.el?

4. Let us say that in the math document there would be questions with
   corresponding answers and solutions. An answer would be just the
   result, while the solution would show the steps needed to obtain the
   result. In the org document I would like to write the question, the
   corresponding answer and the solution in one place, one after the
   other, while in the exported pdf / html I would like the answers and
   solutions to be at the end of the document, numbered according to the
   numbers of the questions. How could I achieve this?

I use this opportunity to thank the people behind org-mode for
developing a brilliant system.

Jarmo Hurri

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