here are a few answers to your questions, in the order you asked them.
First of all, as a general comment, the standard way to use the build system is not flexible enough to accommodate tex's many quirks (including its abysmal error reporting). However, jps added a fantastic feature to ST2: you can direct the build system to invoke ANY ST command, rather than "exec" (explanation: if you set up a build system wiht "make" as the "cmd", what happens behind the curtains is that ST2 invokes "exec" with "make" as parameter).
In the near future, I plan to take advantage of this feature (I actually asked jps for it, along with the OS-dependent configuration option, so I'd better put my code where my mouth is!). I will write a ST command that invokes whatever OS-specific code is required (texify on WIndows, latexmk on OSX and Linux), then parses the output, places it in the output panel in a NICELY FORMATTED way (as in: file:line:col, where the column is "guessed" based on tex's error reporting) so you can F4 to each error as in any civilized programming language
This may also take care of the PDF viewer focus issue, or at least it gives me more flexibility to launch the previewer in an appropriate way.
Finally, all the configuration options you mention (master file, clean intermediate files or not etc.) cannot be handled by the build system, but CAN be handled by a purpose-made ST command. I am NOT promising that I will implement all the tweaks you suggest, but I'll take note of them
- See above.
- Yep, that's a useful option.
- See above
- See above
- First, the version you downloaded is probably very old. I am running the stock 1.4 version of Sumatra, and it does have a nice configuration option for inverse search. Second, definitely ST2 should not crash when Sumatra is not installed! I must do some error-checking, either in that command or perhaps when the plugin is loaded ("sanity check"). Right now there's none of that. At the very least, I should have some kind of warning in the documentation.
- As I said, unfortunately there is no documentation yet. I just provided you with a link to the git repository in the hope that it might be useful, but this thing is not ready for public consumption. Anyway, open the .sublime-keymap file in the plugin directory; that will give you the few available keybinding. I'm really trying to work mostly with the completion system (hence the ref and cite commands, and the math macros).
- Yep, fully agree---see above.