I am trying to set up a collaborative LaTeX project - something better than sending emails back and forth. Some sort of version control system: git or mercurial - seems popular, but it means learning a new system, and quite frankly I find git very confusing. Also it's probably overkill. And at the moment I don't really have the time to invest in learning a new system, so I'm hoping for something simpler.

I don't know that sharelatex, writelatex, authorea will work, as we use lots of LaTeX packages such as TiKZ, sagetex etc. So we really need some system - easy to use and set up - which allows us to share documents. Clearly some sort of version control system would be perfect - if there was one which was straightforward to use.

I have attempted a start with git, and I created a repository and committed it to bitbucket. But that took half a day of fiddling with ssh keys and searching for information, and I'm not sure that I want to spend half a day for every beginner's step with git. So I'm wondering if there's something simpler - in this case for just two collaborators.

  • 2
    GitHub makes a nice app which works pretty well: desktop.github.com. They also have a bunch of tutorials for using regular git which should make it much easier. Apr 21, 2016 at 3:17
  • Thank you - but unfortunately GitHub Desktop is for Windows and Mac, and I use Linux. There are GUIs for Linux, but I'm still wondering if there's a simpler system than git for the fairly simple uses I'll have for it.
    – Alasdair
    Apr 21, 2016 at 4:45
  • I have been using google docs. I made a script for pulling the text into my local machine and from there I compile locally. Is that the sort of thing you might consider? I had to solve the BOM problem first though tex.stackexchange.com/questions/284916/… I'm using a Debian based distribution, and texlive 2015. Using google docs for collaboration is fairly easy, and the storage, since it uses native gdoc format is free in the sense it takes zero google doc storage.
    – A Feldman
    Apr 21, 2016 at 5:00
  • 3
    I'm not sure what we can say here: this is very borderline for on-topic and is likely opinion-based too. Things like ShareLaTeX/Overleaf/... certainly work and have good package coverage, whilst there are a variety of version control systems you could use (you certainly don't have to use SSH keys to work with Git/Mercurial/...). Or you could simply use a general file sync/sharing system like Dropbox. Or as you observe you could do it by hand (email/memory stick: a lot of LaTeX kernel work in the past was done by email!). Really comes down to what you are comfortable with.
    – Joseph Wright
    Apr 21, 2016 at 6:03
  • "I don't know that sharelatex, writelatex, authorea will work, as we use lots of LaTeX packages such as TiKZ, sagetex etc." - I don't know about the others, but Sharelatex lets you use TikZ. You can also upload .sty files for other packages to your project. Jun 20, 2016 at 11:08

1 Answer 1

  1. You still will have to know some VCS-magic anyway for any VCS of choice
  2. Git is really terrible choice as first VCS (and last or any other number too)
  3. TeXstudio isn't a bad editor per se, has built-in support for SVN (which can be "cheated" for using Git - or Mercurial - with the same interface)
  4. Alternative solution assumes using hand-work (but it will be nothing more than 2-3 Mercurial commands in the worst case of mandatory merges) with any authoring tool... maybe TortoiseHG will be good choice for you instead of pure CLI

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