Evaluation of WP LaTeX Plugin

| June 4, 2010

We received the following request:

Would it be possible to add the following WordPress plugin to pressible?
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-latex

As Pressible grows we anticipate requests for WordPress plugins to increase. This post will illustrate some of the steps we take to evaluate if a plugin makes sense and is worth supporting network wide.

First we asked ourselves what is WP LaTeX and what can it do?

This plugin integrates the LaTeX markup and formatting system into WordPress using a WordPress shortcode.  to present content. From the LaTeX Wikipedia page:

LaTeX is based on the idea that authors should be able to focus on the content of what they are writing without being distracted by its visual presentation. In preparing a LaTeX document, the author specifies the logical structure using familiar concepts such as chaptersectiontablefigure, etc., and lets the LaTeX system worry about the presentation of these structures.

Already this seems like a tool that would make sense to integrate for our academic Pressible users.

The second thing we asked ourselves was who makes the plugin, is it up to date, and does it seem supported?

This was not a difficult question to answer. Eric and I were both previously familiar with the WP LaTeX plugin. We heard Matt Mullenweg , founder of WordPress, praise the plugin at WordCamp NYC last fall. He also acknowledged that Automattic, the company behind WordPress, has taken up co-development and support of the plugin. Having such a strong development setup behind it makes it an easier choice for integrating this into Pressible.

Finally we asked ourselves, does this plugin fit into our philosophy of Pressible and online publishing?

I would have to say the answer is yes. We feel that Pressible is a platform for publishing any content, that the future of publishing relies on a variety of tools and media. Allowing users to publish images and equations with LaTeX seems like a natural addition to the role Pressible can play in a user’s online publishing.

With that said we are adding LaTeX to our development plan and it should premiere on Pressible very soon. We look forward to see how specific users integrate it into their publishing efforts.