# Automatic rendering of code provided in questions/answers?

Do people here compile/render/upload images themselves?

Would it be possible to have an automatic rendering engine? (Something like the MathJax stuff they have on Math.SX, but with some real TeX processors on an auxiliary server. Of course results can be cached.)

Edit: My proposition was suggesting an explicit mechanism to render test documents. Not an implicit one as found on Math/Physics/TCS etc...

• To create picture, people usually either take screenshots or use the standalone class. – Caramdir Jul 23 '11 at 19:17
• Interesting, and I see that images can be hosted on SX itself. – Stéphane Gimenez Jul 23 '11 at 19:50

## 1 Answer

We used to have Mathjax in the very first days of TeX.sx, but not anymore. See this discussion and also the first answer to this question for some rationale. I'm almost sure there have been other discussions previously, but wasn't able to find them currently.

In a nutshell -- there's no real benefit of having TeX rendering here. Discussions on TeX.sx are mostly focused on the actual source code or a minimal working example that produce the (un)desired result, and for this reason, inline rendering is not only unnecessary, it is actively harmful (when, for example, one would want to quote a command instead of show its result). I'm not even going to mention the implications this has on page loading speed -- try it on a slow machine with older browser on one of the more notation-heavy questions.

Contrast this with Physics.sx and Math.sx (and also Math Overflow) where the notation is absolutely critical to facilitating the discussion. Here on TeX.sx, the plain old source code is sufficient -- questions on aesthetics (although acceptable here) are much less frequent than those from the "where's the problem in this code" or "how do I do X" variety. If need be (or for the sake of saving time to others), the poster should upload an image or even a compiled document if the result is unexpected or non-reproducible by the others, but this happens far less often than you would think.

• Also, I'd be rather complicated to support all the various packages and classes (in various versions), formats, engines and fonts discussed here. – Caramdir Jul 23 '11 at 19:15
• Thank for the links! In the comments I found a related discussion. – Stéphane Gimenez Jul 23 '11 at 19:26
• @Caramdir: full (preferably short) documents should be provided, including \usepackage and also compiler name. – Stéphane Gimenez Jul 23 '11 at 19:30