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Re: What's your favourite *under_publicized* editing feature ofEmacs?

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: What's your favourite *under_publicized* editing feature ofEmacs?
Date: Tue, 01 Mar 2011 15:31:27 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Cthun <address@hidden> writes:

> On 28/02/2011 11:32 PM, Jim Janney wrote:
>> Cthun<address@hidden>  writes:
>>> and moreover, word
>>> processor documents are typically binary files, which version control
>>> systems cope poorly with. Subversion's diff tool will not play nicely
>>> with .doc files, Janney, and without it there is little point in using
>>> version control.
>> I did say text; clever of you to pick up on that.
> Plain, unformatted ASCII text, Janney, which is hardly useful for
> writing novels and articles.

Typewritten manuscripts have been the standard for novel manuscripts for
a substantial amount of time, definitely more limited than ASCII.

> Novels tend to contain italics and other formatting here and there,
> Janney, whereas articles frequently contain scientific and
> mathematical symbols that do not exist in ASCII or sometimes even
> Unicode, and tables, graphs, charts, and formatted equations that
> cannot be represented nicely using a grid of characters.

You probably never heard of LaTeX.  Word processors are mostly good for
simple tasks.  They make the typesetting of mathematics unnecessary
cumbersome and depending on the typesetting skills of the author (who
rarely specializes in that area), and they fall down even in text-only
situations when you have to do things like critical typesetting with
multiple layers of hierarchical footnotes.

Been there, done that.

>> And it can be accomplished even more easily with Emacs and any one of
>> a number of version control systems.
> What does your classic unsubstantiated and erroneous claim have to do
> with Lisp, Janney? Occasionally hitting control-S and backing up your
> files regularly is a lot easier than learning Emacs, Janney.

It does not give you convenient tools for navigating and reusing the
history of the file.

> What does your classic unsubstantiated and erroneous claim have to do
> with Lisp, Janney? And it remains true that using SVN to "develop" a
> novel is like using a hammer to insert a screw, Janney.

Nope.  More like using a filing system to keep track of your screws,
assemblies and prototypes in the various stages of production.

David Kastrup

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