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Re: Help requested: Support for basic Org mode support in tools outside

From: Tim Cross
Subject: Re: Help requested: Support for basic Org mode support in tools outside of Emacs
Date: Thu, 05 Aug 2021 08:28:48 +1000
User-agent: mu4e 1.6.1; emacs 28.0.50

M. ‘quintus’ Gülker <post+orgmodeml@guelker.eu> writes:

> Am 04. August 2021 um 12:57 Uhr +0200 schrieb Karl Voit:
>> My focus is on Emacs-independent tools, emphasizing the argument
>> that Org mode is not Emacs-only and its syntax does have
>> applications outside of Emacs as well because it is a well-defined
>> syntax in the sense of
>> https://karl-voit.at/2017/09/23/orgmode-as-markup-only/
> It is an interesting post, thank you for sharing. Indeed, a list of
> non-Emacs org tools would benefit org's popularity as a markup
> language. Good luck with building one!
> The problem with the approach you describe in this article is that the
> org markup is not really separatable from org as a part of Emacs. By
> setting some variables, the user is able to change the org syntax
> itself and tailor it to his personal taste. The org manual even gives
> a simple example for adding new TODO states at § 5.2.1:
> https://orgmode.org/manual/Workflow-states.html
> While this might not fall under the restriction to basic facilities,
> it is perfectly possible to redefine variables that define the basic
> syntax as well. If one does not like stars for heading prefixes,
> it is possible change `org-heading-regexp' to whatever taste is at
> hand. A more practical example (which I use myself) is adding new link
> types as explained in § A.3 of the manual:
> https://orgmode.org/manual/Adding-Hyperlink-Types.html
> I recall from a discussion on this mailing list which I cannot seem to
> find at the moment that the inseparability of org syntax and org Emacs
> tooling is official position of the org developers. I think it was in
> the context of registering a MIME type for org. In any case, org as a
> syntax is a moving target, as the recent additions in form of
> citations have shown (see 
> https://blog.tecosaur.com/tmio/2021-07-31-citations.html).
> Note I am not at all opposed to your quest. In fact, I would love to
> have more widespread support for org so that it is easier for me to
> collaborate with non-Emacs users on plain text documents. I just
> wanted to point out difficulties of spreading org in the world outside
> Emacs, which may be hard hard to imagine, but does exist. As an aside,
> I hope that pandoc will receive support for org's new citation syntax
> soon.

While I'm skeptical about having any *real* org mode outside of Emacs, I
do think that having tools able to parse org files and possibly handle
basic things, like changing TODO states or following links, is possible.

While it is true that some of the org-mode features for adding new TODO
states or link types do make creation of such tools more complex, I'm
not sure these are really changes to the org syntax. TODO states, link
structure and section prefixes/markers are well defined elements and
syntactically consistent. External tools may need the ability for the
user to also set/define these structures to facilitate compatibility and
some tools already do this - for exmaple, beorg (iOS) lets you define
TODO states.

BTW has anyone mentioned the VS Code org plugin - I guess that would
meet the criteria as an external, non-Emacs based tool for doing org
style markup. I've not used it, but noticed it when I was playing with
VS Code recently. 

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