Re: Word Processors
- From: Todd Graham Lewis <tlewis mindspring net>
- To: Rebecca Ore <rebecca ore op net>
- cc: gnome-list gnome org
- Subject: Re: Word Processors
- Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 12:59:02 -0400 (EDT)
On Wed, 16 Sep 1998, Rebecca Ore wrote:
> I'm thinking of setting up a web page so we can have a central
> repository of idea, screenshots of interesting stuff, and a separate
> archive of this discussion. Thanks to Pathetic Writer, I can htmlize
> my text without code.
LyX lets you htmlize and do lots more to your docs, fwiw.
> > 2) Perhaps most importantly, the document format engines should be
> > abstracted out as much as possible. It would be nice if you could save
> > spreadsheets and gimp illustrations in PDF, etc. formats, and if they
> > did not have to re-implement to engines to do so.
> Remember always that the user base for a word processor extends from
> people who are *forced* to use it in order to make $2 an hour over
> minimum wage to people who are doing hypertext media presentations and
> desktop publishing. I don't think it's impossible to suit the whole
> spectrum, but we might want to consider that the absolutely lowest end
> users are less likely to use a Gnome program than the more
I don't really see how the ability to save a doc in PDF makes the program
more difficult to use for the $2/hr crowd...
> > 3) I wish that the actual editing component be replaceable. Think shades
> > of emacs-as-an-X-widget here. Define the editing component as richly
> > as you think necessary via CORBA; go ahead and load it up with as much
> > functionality as you need to do real-time spell checking, etc. But make
> > sure that it is abstracted out via CORBA, so that someone can take one
> > of the free VI's and make it into an editing component. Same for emacs
> > and anything else that people want to use. This component could also
> > be used in our notepad replacement.
> Yeah, right, and my totally naive user better not hit something by
> accident that causes wetware kernel panic.
Eh? You would hide this functionality behind the big "experts-only"
button, but it would still be useful. It'd even be useful for non-
experts. Think about making the WP accessible to blind or visually-
impaired people, e.g.
> > 4) It would also be nice if the API for interacting with the document
> > in progress were standardized. That way, you could program your spell
> > checker, grammar checker, etc., all the same way, and it would be easy
> > to add a new module of this kind.
> But default has to be useable out of the box. See above. Or let's
> define the range (I'm not about to program my spell checker, thank you
> very much). And adding new modules has to be way under the hood, or
> in a very explanatory GUI.
Again, none of this is user-visible. I'm talking about how to
organize the guts of the WP, behind the scenes. I think that you are
misinterpreting what i am suggesting here.
> > 5A) On the template front, this is really not a programmatic concern,
> > except in so far as you have to make templates possible. I would think
> > that you could make template writing very easy by allowing people to
> > write their dialogues in scheme, perhaps with some helper functions to
> > make dialogues very easy to write.
> I think we're better served with simplier templates that cover most
> of the bases, especially if we're going to have ways to add templates
> simply. One way is to write a sample document and declare that the
> template, say, highlighting various headers, making them a different
> weight and point size, and then naming that Super Bold Header One,
> then saving document as template Foo with style mark-ups.
> Doesn't require scripting per se at all. If I remember correctly,
> that's about the way Word templates can function.
It doesn't require scripting, but scripting in no way interferes with one's
ability to do this sort of template. Simple templates are still easy, but
more complex, or rather, more user-interactive templates are also possible.
I was thinking of stuff like:
Please enter the name of the recipient of your letter:
(radio button for Mr., Ms., etc.)
People should be able to do dialogues like this in their templates easily
if they are so inclined. This is what I was recommending.
> > 5B) The crucial thing in making templates useful to users is editorial
> > control. You should pick someone as the template baron who exercises
> > dictatorial control over what does and does not go into the standard
> > template library which ships. Without this, you are just going to have
> > a big pile of unorganized, duplicative templates which will confuse
> > the user. I nominate Rebecca as the template baron; since she can't
> > program, but she's a writer, I think she'd be perfect for this. (Let's
> > hear it for the nonprogrammers in the crowd! 8^)
> Gee, thanks, and I've got an October 15th book deadline.
I think that most of us have real jobs in addition to our GNOME work,
except for those slackers at RHAD. 8^)
Todd Graham Lewis 32°49'N,83°36'W (800) 719-4664, x2804
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