TECOAS: User's Guide


  1. Installation
    1. Download
    2. Requirements
  2. Using TECOAS
    1. Startup
    2. Visual Components
    3. Viewer
      1. Navigation
      2. Annotations
      3. Graffiti
      4. Synchronization
      5. Telepointer
    4. Chat
    5. Mathematical Input
    6. How to Quit
  3. Configuring TECOAS for use with the SOBA Framework
  4. Advice
    1. Frequently Asked Questions
    2. Known Bugs
    3. Usage Tips
  5. Bug reports
  6. Disclaimer



Firs obtain the latest version of TECOAS from the TECOAS website.



Read also the files README and sobalight.html in the distribution.


In the following, we assume that the contents of the distribution (tecoas-0.*.zip) have been unpacked in the ${TECOAS_HOME} directory.


You may need to configure TECOAS by editting the tecoasrc file, which resides in ${TECOAS_HOME}. By default, all contents are commented out, and a default behaviour is selected. Most contents can be left unchanged, but you may need to change the setup for gs.

# Where to find ghostscript
#gs=no		# no ghostscript (requires server)
#gs=gs		# Unix or Cygwin (default)
#gs=gswin32c	# Windows

The default is to call the gs command. If no ghostscript is available on your system, of if it does not work properly, you must uncomment the line gs=no (but at least one of the participants in a TECOAS session must have a working Ghostscript). If you are using the gswin32 version of Ghostscript, you must uncomment the line gs=gswin32c. Incorrect configuration of this parameter will result in an error message when you open a Postscript or PDF file. You may also override the tecoasrc file by putting a copy of it in your home directory, renamed as .tecoasrc; in that case only .tecoasrc will be read, and the original tecoasrc is ignored.


($, > indicate shell and console command prompts.)
  1. One of the participants starts a SobaLight server.
    1. SobaLight execution
      • Example 1

        $ cd ${TECOAS_HOME}
        $ java -jar sobalight.jar

      • Example 2 (On Windows)

        Inside explorer, go to the ${TECOAS_HOME} directory, and double-click on sobalight.bat

    2. In the SobaLight console, type the following command.

      > start 8383 NOSTATE

    Alternatively, one may start the server without starting the GUI.

    $ cd ${TECOAS_HOME}
    $ java -jar sobalight.jar -no-console server.sol

  2. One of the participants starts a TECOAS master.
    1. Start SobaLight, as above.
    2. In the SobaLight console, type the following commands.

      > connect <server name> 8383
      > load viewer.sol

    Alternatively, one can edit the master.sol script, and run it directly (on unix).

  3. Other participants start as clients.
    1. Start SobaLight, as above.
    2. In the SobaLight console, type the following command.

      > connect <server name> 8383

    Alternatively, one can edit the client.sol script, and run it directly (on unix) or through double-clicking client.bat.

  4. If you have a more complex network configuration, and need to forward connections through ssh, this is possible by having all remote participants do:

    $ ssh -L8383:<server name>:8383 <ssh server>

    Then they must replace "connect <server name> 8383" in the above by "connect localhost 8383".


If you want to test TECOAS alone, you can do it by running the standalone.sol script or double-clicking on standalone.bat.

Visual components

TECOAS is composed of a Viewer component and a Chat component.



When you start TECOAS, the TECOAS logo appears in the Viewer window. First, one of the participants must open a document by selecting [Open File] in the File menu. Postscript and PDF formats are supported. Then all participants may use the following functions.


By pushing the navigation buttons, you may change the page currently displayed in your viewer. You can also directly input a page number in the page field.


With TECOAS, one can add annotations to a shared document. Annotations apply to a region which can be a point, a line, or a rectangle. Here are the steps to add an annotation.

  1. Choose an annotation kind by pushing one of the annotation buttons.
  2. Select the region by clicking and dragging the mouse.
  3. A window appears. Write your comment in it.
  4. [OK] adds your annotation to the document. All participants will see it. [Cancel] throws it away.

One an annotation has been added, you can [Edit] or [Delete]. When somebody is editting an annotation, his name appears in the annotation title.

Annotations are automatically saved, and will appear the next time you open the same document. However, any change in a document will cause it to be seen as different by TECOAS.


You can draw explanations on top of a document.

  1. Click the graffiti button. (You enter the graffiti mode)
  2. Draw with the mouse.
  3. Click again the graffiti button. (You exit the graffiti mode, sending your drawing to all participants)

Graffiti are not saved. They will disappear the next time you open the same document.


Annotations and graffiti are shared between all participants, but you cannot be sure that they are looking at the same page. By pressing the synchronization button, you can force other participant to go to the same page.

Participants who are editting an annotation, or who have disabled synchronization, will not be synchronized.


The telepointer functionality is available to show your pointer to other participants (when it is inside the viewer area). It is mainly useful if other participants can hear your voice, since otherwise you have to move the pointer to write chat messages.

Click once the telepointer button to enter telepointer mode, and once again to end telepointer mode. When in telepointer mode, you can see a label with your name following the mouse pointer.


The Chat window is composed of two parts. The upper part is a log of past chat messages. The lower part allows you to edit a message before you send it. When you press the [Send] button, you message is sent to all participants. You can also clear the edition window with the [Clear] button, or insert images with the [Insert Image] option of the Chat menu.

Another tab named "Messages" is also present in the upper part. It is intended to let you check the behaviour of subprocesses (gs or latex) launched by TECOAS.

Mathematical Input Method, and Cut and Paste

Both in annotations and in chat messages, you can also input mathematical formulas.

  1. Press [Ctrl + \] to enter Math mode. The background becomes blue, and the cursor is between two "$".
  2. Input there a valid LaTeX formula (in math mode).
    For instance: $\pi > 3$
  3. [Ctrl + M] converts the formula to its graphical representation.
  4. To confirm the conversion, press [Ctrl + M] once more, or cancel the conversion through [Ctrl + G].

Mathematical formulas may be copied and pasted like normal text.

  1. The selected area is automatically copied to the TECOAS clipboard.
  2. [Ctrl + Y] inserts the current contents of the clipboard.
  3. [Ctrl + V] inserts the text version of the contents.

How to quit

By default, you cannot quit TECOAS, as this would shutdown TECOAS for all members. You should rather press the Exit button of the SobaLight console. Note that if there are still some participants in the station, you can reenter it at anytime as a client, and will share all annotations and chat.

Configuring TECOAS for use with the SOBA Framework

Note that the current version of the SOBA Framework may only be installed on Japanese versions of Windows, otherwise you may only use TECOAS SobaLight.

You may use TECOAS inside the Generic Application bundled with the SOBA Framework. But first you need to do some configuration. In the following, we will refer to base directory of the SOBA installation (by default C:\Program Files\SOBA Project\SOBA*) as ${SOBA}. This procedure was tested on the version 1.1.2 of the SOBA Framework.

Adding component files

Some TECOAS files must be added to the Generic Application.

Register TECOAS

The tools one can use in the Generic Application are listed in the file ${SOBA}\home\system\config\win32\applications.xml. You shall edit this file in the following way.

${SOBA}\home\system\config\win32\applications.xml (The added part is in red)
    <SharedObject uri="SobaAP:Chat" context="shared-context-chat.xml"
                  class="org.soba_project.application.component.chat.ChatSharedObject"  />
    <SharedObject uri="SobaAP:Browser" context="shared-context-browser.xml"
                  class="org.soba_project.application.component.browser.BrowserSharedObject"  />
    <SharedObject uri="SobaAP:ResourceManager" context="shared-context-rsmgr.xml"
                  class="org.soba_project.application.component.rsmgr.RsMgrSharedObject"  />

    <SharedObject uri="Texsoba:Viewer" context="shared-context-tecoas.xml"
                  class="texsoba.TexObject"  />



We assume that all members have already started the SOBA Frameworks, and share a session. (See the Generic Application Guide at INCPOD for details.)
If TECOAS was correctly installed, then it should appear in your Toolbox. One member should start TECOAS, after that you can use exactly as with SobaLight.


Frequently Asked Questions

Known bugs


Bug reports

Send bug reports to tecoas@kaba.or.jp.

About this document

This latest version of the TECOAS documentation is available online.