This page is outdated as LyX has made SERIOUS progress since 2006. However, there are still advantages of SWP which remain...

General Statement

I have been using Scientific Workplace (SWP) since my first year at Technical University of Munich in 1996 and I remain a big fan of it to date. However, I am very unhappy that SWP has *only* a windows version which runs okayish under Linux but to date I can only run it below Virtual PC with Windows NT (it hurts!) on my facorite computer, i.e., a Mac. I even own a version for Mac OS 9 which I bought over ebay ... which barely runs in today's classic environment. I have tried all kinda replacements where LyX is probably the most prominent but the list is much longer. While LyX improves at an incredible rate (expecially given its few but very hard-working developers), SWP has been fairly stagnant. I have not switched to Lyx for good yet but use it on and off ... and check when the time has come. Ever since 1.4.0, I have the feeling that the time will be very soon.

What Lyx can learn from Scientific Workplace?

  1. The toolbars of Lyx still suck! SWP toolbars are not only reconfigureable by mouseclick, they also have the complete math panel integrated. Can't the math panel be moved to the toolbar? Especially beginners will need this ease of use!
  2. Search and replace of parts of equations in SWP is really cool.
  3. The math functions of SWP are awesome. Lyx has basic math functionality which is actually pretty good - if it just had vector-matrix calculus, graphigs and a menu.
  4. The way equations look in the on screen mode is still annoying in comparison. Just look at this comparison:
  5. The editing of equations is much more natural in SWP than in LyX. While this can be configure, I still wonder why do I have to press Shift+Enter in Lyx for a new line in a equation instead of just Enter? Why doesn't equation editing feel as natural as in MathType or Word Equation editor? All it would need is a few keyboard shortcuts to be changed!

What Scientific Workplace can learn from LyX?

  2. Change tracking is a key feature - Lyx can do it, SWP cannot.
  3. No instant preview of equations - a great feature of Lyx which even scales with the text size (very imrpessive).
  4. Many, many tex files will not be accepted from SWP despite that tex is its native format. Especially in recent times! Lyx on the other hand has become PERFECT in this respect.
  5. The table of contents is nicely integrated into the menu.
  6. A price nobody can compete with ... (= FREE) and the fastest support I have ever seen (=mailing list).

Features both need

  1. File comparison: how can I have two LaTeX files and see the changes? This is a key feature for working with other scientists!


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