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Status Update

March 17, 2013

Hello All! I haven’t forgotten about the promised update. It’s just been pushed back due to other commitments. I’ve been able to start work on it again (after a hiatus of several weeks). The plan is to move away from the current custom UI and towards a system that uses the standard keyboard with auto-complete macros.

The simplest way to explain it is to just show you a few screenshots.

This is the new input system. Notice how it auto-completes your macro.


This is the new input system.
Notice how it auto-completes your macro.

The keyboard input takes in normal letters and ASCII symbols and puts them into the equation. When you want to use a special character, you tap the “@” symbol on the grey input bar or type the “@” symbol on your keyboard. From there you begin typing the macro for the new symbol you want and it will auto-complete it. You can also use the arrow buttons that pop up to choose from other macros that have a matching name.

Select the macro you want by tapping it or pressing "enter".


You can select the macro you want by tapping it or pressing “enter”.

 

You should be able to input equations much more easily than the current system.


You should be able to input equations much more easily than the current system.

You may notice that all of the arrow keys are also missing. Cursor navigation can be done either by tapping the edge of the equation to move the cursor left/right and up/down, by tapping the location on the screen where you want the cursor to appear, or by pressing and holding until the interface changes (and, maybe, the loupe appears) and then dragging the cursor around.

Macro Lookup

While most of the macros should be familiar to TeX users, and alot of the names I picked should be obvious, there are still many macros for characters that are rarely used. Pressing the “?” button brings you to a new menu that lets you browse macros until you find the ones you want. It also keeps track of recently searched macros and keeps a separate list of macros you pick as your “favorite”.

Need to find a less common macro? Look here.


Need to find a less common macro? Look here.

 

You can also keep track of your favorites in case you need to find them later.


You can also keep track of your favorites in case you need to find them later.

New Draw Code

I am also finishing up new draw code that uses Core Text. In addition to producing math that is much better looking, this new draw code will allow me to improve some of the other products (including eventually adding PDF output to EQ Writer). I have a couple of screenshots to illustrate the improved system:

Here is how the current system renders a stacked fraction.


Here is how the current system renders a stacked fraction.

Here is that same fraction under the new draw system.


Here is that same fraction under the new draw system.

If you look closely, you will notice the spacing around the minus operators and around the bracers is much more uniform. This is because of the new Core Text layout. Also, the stretchy bracers draw much better and the stacked fractions are now sized correctly. This is because I read and applied a useful paper on mathematical typesetting.

Other Interface Improvements

I am also updating the save interface to be closer to the “Notepad” app as far as the save interface goes. It should be clear from here on how to save a page, delete a page, and add a new equation page. The export methods should also be more in line with the standard iOS UI. If I have time, I will also be trying to implement some of the more standard editing UI practices (like being able to select a text range and copy it to the clipboard, also having the loupe show up when editing).

So anyways, this should give you all a good picture of where I’m trying to take the app. It may take awhile, but I’m getting there and the wait should be worth it.

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