Can LyX be used as an IDE for LaTeX? I am considering using LyX instead of Emacs to write my LaTeX papers. Emacs is powerful editor/IDE which helps me be more productive while writing LaTeX. LyX looks like more than an IDE, because it uses its own file format. Is LyX is a good option if the end result must be a LaTeX code?
No, LyX should not be considered as an IDE for LaTeX, even though it uses LaTeX as backend.
The point here is that while every LyX document can be exported to LaTeX, not every LaTeX document can be imported into LyX (even though simple stuff works pretty well). This means, if collaborating on a paper, all or no authors have to use LyX.
I personally use and prefer LyX for writing papers and larger documents, but fall back to plain LaTeX if one of my collaborators does not want to use LyX.
Here is a more detailed answer...
Is LyX an IDE for LaTeX?
"IDE" stands for Integrated Development Environment. That is a software application which is usually used for writing and developing new programs in a certain programming language. An IDE integrates several components into one big entity. The basic requirements are to provide:
Here the programming language corresponds to a language for typesetting documents: LaTeX.
Overall, LyX cannot be considered as an IDE for LaTeX, although it acts in parts similarly to an IDE.
Is LyX a good option if the end result must be LaTeX code?
This picture shows a LaTeX document, its LyX equivalent, and the final PDF. LyX comes close to the PDF!
Features of LyX: LyX has a reasonably good support of LaTeX from classes ("article", "book", "letter") to commands (
Not possible in LyX: As mentioned LyX does not offer to edit the LaTeX code at an arbitrary position! Though injection of TeX code at some points is possible. Hence, one somehow depends on the options that are supplied by LyX and its loadable modules.
A general recommendation: If you have some time, learn the basics of LaTeX before learning LyX. That is, how to write and compile a simple document with some figures and tables, e.g., see first LaTeX doc or Best Way to Start Using LaTeX or Best Book to Start Learning LaTeX. Then you will get a glimpse of what LyX does behind the scenes, and you can turn to LyX. (Note that LyX - generating LaTeX - is quite different from other document processors like Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer.)
In my opinion,