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Re: [O] org-mode markup vs rst for general content

From: Alan L Tyree
Subject: Re: [O] org-mode markup vs rst for general content
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2017 10:27:47 +1100
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On 10/03/17 09:03, Saša Janiška wrote:
John Kitchin <address@hidden> writes:

Could you be more specific about what kind of richness you are looking
In a general sense…iow, it’s a fact that rst markup is richer than
e.g. Markdown. Probably, Asciidoc(tor) also provides more semantic
richness and make it suitable markup for longer docs/books, so I wonder
where one can put org-mode’s markup on this scale?


I write legal textbooks (up to 600 printed pages) using org-mode. They are structurally simple (no sidebars, no illustrations, no computer code). On the other hand, they have lots of citations and internal cross references. Org-mode is the best for this kind of work because of the flexible outline structure, not just collapsing and expanding, but the "hoisting" facility that allows me to focus on smaller sections. The org-ref module does its work, and the internal cross referencing is the best.

I recently assisted a friend to put together a memoir that he wanted to publish as ePub and print. It had lots of pictures. He had originally typed it in Word and it was a nightmare. Images would not stay put, even the typeface would change. The on-line publishers like Lulu rejected it. We reformatted in in Pandoc Markdown and produced a very nice result. I would have preferred org-mode, but he had never been near Emacs. We got good ePub, xhtml and print from a single manuscript.

I have also written in rst: it is a slightly richer language out of the box with provisions for sidebars, cautions, etc, but unless you really need those things, I would stick with org-mode. I find the syntax of rst to be very fiddly. Most of the special effects can be obtained with css in any case.

The only problem that I have had is converting org-mode to Word files as required by my publisher. The ODT export module is fiddly and often chokes on my longer documents. When it does choke, it is hard to trace the problems. Markdown + Pandoc seems much better in this regard, but the outlining features in Emacs do not seem to be as good for the Markdown mode. To get a decent export in my latest manuscript I had to export to LaTeX then use ht4tex. Not a pretty workflow.

I would say Markdown if you are collaborating with someone not familiar with Emacs. The Pandoc version will do a surprising amount. Org-mode for nearly everything else, but if you need more, go on to LaTeX.

This may be more than you wanted to know :-).


Alan L Tyree                    http://www2.austlii.edu.au/~alan
Tel:  04 2748 6206              sip:address@hidden

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