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In my brief time at math.stackexchange.com I have on several occasions run into a problem with the math renderer slowing to a crawl so that nothing gets displayed anymore and Firefox keeps asking me whether it should stop the rogue script. The renderer seems to restart on even minor edits that do not affect any of the formulas and everything becomes unusable after that. When this happens to me I usually use an external editor to continue composing my answer and paste the end result into the web form only after all is done. My machine works fine for multimedia and a variety of operating systems so that (machine speed) is not where the problem lies. I do understand that JavaScript has its limits and one cannot expect it to be competitive e.g. compared with C. These are my questions: is there an offline edit tool for SE input? The syntax is basically $\LaTeX$ so it should not be hard to convert into valid $\LaTeX$, edit that offline, including previewing it with a DVI viewer, and post the end result? Failing that, can we add a control for the renderer? E.g. turn automatic rendering on change off and let the user trigger the display process when it becomes necessary? As I know e.g. some Perl a list of the differences between proper $\LaTeX$ and SE input would help me write a filter to turn one into the other and back again. Or is that not realistic, i.e. would we need a full parser? Thanks for a wonderful website! I do apologize for perhaps duplicating material that has already been discussed here. Pointers are welcome.

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There are two bookmarklets here called "rendering off" and "rendering on" that turn off and on the MathJax rendering. When rendering is slow, turn it off for editing and back on to view.

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The SE input box processes what is essentially MarkDown + MathJax.

Unfortunately, MarkDown is not yet standardized, and there are many different implementations of it you can find on the internet, differing in quirky little ways. That said, those differences tend to be at edge cases that you are unlikely to hit in usual usage, and if it does hit you can always edit it after previewing it on the site to fix any problems.

As to software tools: there are no official offline tools. But in this answer I listed some software tools that support the Markdown + MathJax combo which you can use for offline editing.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for this hint, which helped me find pandoc on the internet. It works like a charm, converting between markdown and $\LaTeX$. So now I can edit large posts in my favorite editor and post that. $\endgroup$ – Marko Riedel Jan 19 '13 at 0:18

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