Scribtex: online collaboration for LaTeX

Michael Flynn and I have been discussing a new project based on recent data we have discovered and our mutual academic interests.  Given that we both have become LaTeX savvy, I was hoping to find a convenient way for us to collaborate without using the archaic system of emailing each other back and forth.  My first inclination was to check Google wave as I knew it had some LaTeX written scripts for it. However, the scripts are for formulas and not complete documents.  Google Docs is another option where we write the document in LaTeX code, download the document to our computers, and then compile it separately when we need to.  This process is not overly painful and seems like it would be a next-best option to an actual LaTeX editor.

Thankfully, after some quick Googling (I figured if I mentioned the search engine three times in one post, I would summon the great beast itself), I happened upon Scribtex.  I think this will be the solution to the problem I was hoping to overcome.  The site itself is devoted to online collaboration using LaTeX and appears to have been out for about a year now.  You can create a project and share it with multiple authors.  The free version of the site allows you to have 50mb of space and work on 3 projects (a folder containing several other files) with the account.  Higher limits require subscription to a monthly plan (between $6 and $10).  The document does syntax coloring like a normal editor as well:

I will have to play around with it a bit further to see if this ends up being exactly what I want. It currently lacks line numbers which can be pivotal in pointing to particular areas that need editing. However, the authors appear to be adding features (I believe it lacked syntax coloring a year ago) and has been seeking new feedback in the past week. Given the limitations of a free account and how much I enjoy TeXShop, I will probably use this exclusively for collaborative projects online.

Michael A. Allen

About Michael A. Allen

Michael is an Assistant Professor in Political Science at Boise State University with a focus in International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Methodology (quantitative and formal). His work includes issues related to military basing abroad, asymmetric relations, cooperation, and conflict. He received his Ph.D from Binghamton University in 2011.

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