AutoLaTeX: how to automatize LaTeX compilation

AutoLaTeX is a tool for managing small to large sized LaTeX documents. The user can easily perform all required steps to do such tasks as: preview the document, or produce a PDF file. AutoLaTeX will keep track of files that have changed and how to run the various programs that are needed to produce the output. One of the best feature of AutoLaTeX is to provide translator rules (aka. translators) to automatically generate the figures which will be included into the PDF.

As a quick example, consider a project which has a single LaTeX file, code>mydoc.tex, as its input. To produce a PDF file you might use the following sequence of commands:

$> pdflatex mydoc.tex
$> bibtex mydoc.tex
$> pdflatex mydoc.tex
$> pdflatex mydoc.tex
$> pdflatex mydoc.tex

The triple invocation of LaTeX is to ensure that all references have been properly resolved and any page layout changes due to inserting the references have been accounted for. The sequence of commands isn't horrible, but it still is several commands. To use AutoLaTeX for this project, you would use one of the following the command lines:

$> autolatex -f mydoc.tex

For documents, which may need to run programs to create the PDF versions of the drawings, which are included into the PDF document, or run BibTeX to generate bibliographies, the generation of the .pdf (or other) files becomes increasingly complicated to run manually. With AutoLaTeX, such operations are still very simple: you have nothing to do. AutoLaTeX is calling the translators for you. Each translator is able to convert an picture source file (eps, svg, Gnuplot...) into a PDF or PNG file.

The process of AutoLaTeX is illustrated by the following Figure:

Hopefully this introduction has provided an adequate example for how AutoLaTeX can simplify the management of LaTeX-based documents. The AutoLaTeX system is simple enough for small projects and powerful enough for large projects. The remainder of this manual will provide complete documentation on the use of AutoLaTeX as well as configuration and installation instructions.

AutoLaTeX provides several [graphical] user interface that may help you to use it:


AutoLaTeX and other TeX makers

The following table compares several features of TeX makers from CTAN (including AutoLaTeX):

MakerTypeDateSupported ToolsDetect ChangesAutomatic File ConvertionsExport to ElsevierEditor Plugins
AutoLaTeXPerl/Python2014latex, pdflatex, xelatex, lualatex, bibtex, biber, makeindex, dvipsXXXasta, dia, dot, fig, ggb, gxl, odg, plot, svg, vsd, xmic/c++, java, matlab, ml, perl, python, ruby, sql, Beamerfig, plot, dia, svg, BeamerXGedit (offical), Sublime Text, Gtk (obsolete)
go-makePerl1993latex, dvips, bibtex, makeindexXXX
latex-makeMakefile2003latex, pdflatex, dvips, ps2pdf, bibtex, makeindexXXfig
latexmkPerl2012latex, dvips, dvipdf, pdflatex, bibtex, makeindexXXX
latexncsh1997dvilatex, bibtex, makeindex
make-latexMakefile1993latex, dvips, bibtexXXXfig, plotfig
mkRuby2012latex, xelatex, pdflatex, texi2dviXXX
rake4latexRuby2001pdflatex, xelatex, lualatex, bibtex, makeindexXX
rubberPython2010pdflatex, etex, aleph, omega, vtex, bibtex, makeindexXX?X
ShLaTeXBash/C2003latex, pdflatex, dvips, ps2pdf, bibtex, makeindexXXX
texi2dviSh2013latex, dvips, dvipdf, pdflatex, bibtex, makeindexXX

The columns are:

AutoLaTeX on Ubuntu Linux

AutoLaTeX is provided in several Ubuntu packages: