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Re: Emacs as word processor

From: René Kyllingstad
Subject: Re: Emacs as word processor
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2013 10:54:50 +0100

On Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 8:30 PM, Hendrik Boom <address@hidden> wrote:
On Sun, 17 Nov 2013 02:28:51 -0500, Richard Stallman wrote:

> 25 years ago I hoped we would extend Emacs to do WYSIWG word processing.
>  That is why we added text properties and variable width fonts.
> However, more features are still needed to achieve this.
> Could people please start working on the features that are needed?

I've introduced minimal mark-up, so that I can specify italics and such
when I need them.  And I wrote a program to convert the (almost) plain-
text to .fodt so I can feed it into LibreOffice for a nice printout.

Maybe I should just have used asciidoc or markdown.  But when I  started
on this stuff I didn't know about those tools, and maybe the didn't exist

​What about making some version of markdown the storage format?

On read Emacs converts the markdown to text properties. On save it's converted to markdown.

​Seems like this could be made to work well enough for simple documents, and would be more pleasant to look at than the markdown.

One could either type the markdown and have it update on the fly, or use commands to switch to italic, insert bullet point, change bullet style, right-align, etc.

This would only support the style way of editing, not directly setting font properties of some text. Configuring the style is done with customize-face, and any improvements to that would benefit the rest of Emacs.

Having reflow to a specific paper size could be an orthogonal feature, turned on and off for this or other modes. It might be nice to edit the first draft with reflow to the current window size, and then turn on paper size and margins when getting ready to print.

This does not at all attack the fundamental problem of layout in Emacs, which means it would be relatively simple to implement.

-- René

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