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Compiling documents online

I want to be able to share, process, and preview latex files over computers that won't have TeX installed. How would you compare browser-based programs that perform such a task?


Here are some things to consider and/or questions to ask:

  • Security / Privacy

    If you're working on a project that you want to share with only specific people, does the online service provide this means? Or does your online "property" become visible to everyone else, immediately? If sharing content, can multiple people collaborating manage their access and usage without interfering with other collaborators?

  • Scope / Transferability

    Does the service accommodate your needs? This includes being able to upload images for inclusion in your project(s); perhaps working on multiple files if you enjoy a compartmentalized breakdown; upload/download large project structures at once.

  • Stability / Consistency

    How long has the service been in place? Is under heavy development, or stable? Heavy development is good, but if a service is not available when you need it (even for regular maintenance), it could be annoying.

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I would suggest the following:

  1. Create a test document, preferably a complete paper in your field and post in the different systems you wish to compare.
  2. Ask your collaborators to edit paragraph 3 or similar task.
  3. See if you can make sense of the edits.
  4. Ask everyone to rate the system on a scale of 1-10.
  5. Decide based on the average results. If it is a tie you cast the deciding vote.
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