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Re: want a file format easily edited and read by emacs that allows (mult

From: Dan Hitt
Subject: Re: want a file format easily edited and read by emacs that allows (multiple) pictures to be included
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2017 15:44:27 -0800

On Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 6:49 AM, Kevin Buchs <> wrote:
> Emmanuel,
> It seems to me you didn’t get a complete answer to your question of the use
> of the org+embedded image. Of course, the OP is the best one to answer, but
> here is what I gleaned.
> 1. OP requested a method to create & edit a document in emasculated that
> would include images that were visible during editing and used minimal
> markup. Org Filled that need.
> 2. The OP next requested a way to have a single file document with the
> images embedded within that file. Think Microsoft Word documents. Transport
> and sharing are two tasks that are simplified with just a single file, but
> the OP may have other use cases. It also simplifies the file-system foot
> print and “remembering” which image file goes with which document.
> 3. Marcion (sorry about incorrect spelling) created a quick answer,
> although it didn’t fully satisfy the OP requirements. It uses org, which
> still requires an independent file for each image, but it now carries Elisp
> code to regenerate the images. So now the single file contains everything
> you need to view and edit, but you need to execute the elisp if the image
> files don’t exist. The export to PDF or HTLM are supported by org mode.
> Kevin Buchs
> (My master org-mode file is over 3 MB and contains all my notes for work
> and personal life)

Hi Kevin,

I think that's a good summary of how the question appeared.

It's not exactly what i had in mind, which is what is in the subject
line: "want a file format easily edited and read by emacs that allows
(multiple) pictures to be included", but i didn't explain it very

So what i was looking for was a file format which made a provision for
text portions and image portions, and which could also be edited by
emacs.  I did not have Word in mind, although if emacs could edit it i
guess it would fit the bill.  I had in mind something more like IFF
--- the file format family Electronic Arts introduced in the mid 1980s
(sort of like the later RIFF/wav formats).  It has a little header,
and then chunks of data identified by tags and lengths.  I thought
that if something like this existed and was spread around at all, then
emacs might have a mode for editing the text parts.  Conceptually, at
least, such a format would not be hard to display and edit, especially
if you already have the means for showing images; i would expect emacs
to keep track of the headers and adjust them as the sections expanded
or contracted.  That corresponds to your point #1.

And in fact, if anything like that existed, i'd still be interested.

However, Danny Yue (sheepduke) looked at the actual usage i had in
mind (keeping notes) and thought org would be a good match.

I hadn't used org, even though everybody is always talking about it,
because it didn't sound right for me.  I thought it couldn't hold its
own data but would have to make reference to the underlying file
system.  That's your point #2.

But then Marcin said that would be easy to remedy, and then wrote code
to do exactly that, and described it all in a blog post

And then it emerged, as was known to most of the world except me, that
there are all kinds of things org can do, such as maintaining lists
that you can easily rearrange, having collapsible points, displaying
Greek letters (which you can toggle back and forth between a parsed
and display form), being much nicer to look at than markdown, and of
course being able to execute arbitrary code.

So although i'm still interested in a file format, because i like
binary things in known formats, and i like using the file program to
identify them, the case for org is pretty compelling. :) :)


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