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Re: What's your favourite *under_publicized* editing feature ofEmacs?

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: What's your favourite *under_publicized* editing feature ofEmacs?
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2011 22:58:17 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

> To add my cent-and-a-half… I use emacs (and git) for novel
> translation—functionally the same as novel writing. While I'm far
> happier with this setup than with any other (in moving from a Mac to
> Linux, my only regret is the loss of Tinderbox), I can certainly see
> cthun's point. When you are writing long-form text, the unit is the
> paragraph. When writing code, the unit is the line. Writing prose, the
> addition of one word can transform a whole paragraph (using fill-mode).
> Writing code, the addition of one "word" generally only changes a line.

Note that most of those tools don't actually care about lines, or may
not even use lines that much internally.  The only part that uses lines
is the default tool that provides a visual diff, as well as the default
tool that performs 3-way merges.

But yes, they tend to be tuned for source code, and prose tends to work
less well.  FWIW, to come back to Emacs, diff-mode and smerge-mode both
support word-grained highlighting of differences, so while the diff
hunks and merge conflicts will include whole paragraphs rather than just
lines, the `refine'd highlighting will let you see which parts have
really changed.  I implemented this specifically to address this problem
when working with LaTeX documents.  At some point, I guess we should
improve that support to provide word-grained diffs and merge conflicts,
which will require a different format since context diffs and diff3
conflict markers are inherently line-based.


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