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Old 11-04-2009, 04:38 PM   #1
paddy's not St.Pat
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Can you use EMACS to write text even a book?


Almost all the information regarding EMACS is geared towards programming. I believe the power of Unix and Linux is that an editor can be used to fill a file with text also. It can, but what about page breaks for printing? What about printing text created with EMACS? I've been taking the EMACS tutorial and it gives you the mechanics of EMACS, but there's more to writing a book than check spelling or how to move the cursor. Where can I find this stuff out? It seems to me that if you could just start your terminal, cd directory, then open your file and start working that would be so great! There's also the neat part about hiding files also. I just want to know if there can be an alternative to Open Office, Org. I would appreciate any information I can get. It seems this is one of the best kept secrets regarding Unix and Linux, because I have been having a hard time finding any of this out.
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:06 PM   #2
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paddy's not St.Pat View Post
Almost all the information regarding EMACS is geared towards programming. I believe the power of Unix and Linux is that an editor can be used to fill a file with text also. It can, but what about page breaks for printing? What about printing text created with EMACS? I've been taking the EMACS tutorial and it gives you the mechanics of EMACS, but there's more to writing a book than check spelling or how to move the cursor. Where can I find this stuff out? It seems to me that if you could just start your terminal, cd directory, then open your file and start working that would be so great! There's also the neat part about hiding files also. I just want to know if there can be an alternative to Open Office, Org. I would appreciate any information I can get. It seems this is one of the best kept secrets regarding Unix and Linux, because I have been having a hard time finding any of this out.
There are thousands of emacs tutorials out there on Google...hardly a 'secret', as it's been around for many years.

As far as editing a text file...go ahead, that's what it's there for. If you need a page-break character, just insert one, same as you would for vi, or any other text-only editor. You don't need emacs to print...save the file, and use the lp command...it's just text.

Hiding files has nothing to do with emacs...that's a unix/linux function that, again, has been around many years.
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:27 PM   #3
Tinkster
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And since the topic of formatting has been raised: I'd like to suggest that
you take the time to have a close look at (La)TeX ... no, not the kinky stuff,
the layout system.

And one of my preferred "editors" for it: LyX



Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:34 PM   #4
Quakeboy02
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Given the availability of Open Office, is latex even relevant anymore?
 
Old 11-04-2009, 06:09 PM   #5
Tinkster
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Quote:
Given the availability of Open Office, is latex even relevant anymore?
Absolutely yes ... for a variety of reasons. But to mention only a few:

matter of fact:
For scientific publications you can commonly get styles from the
requester/publisher.

Formatting with LaTeX is completely printer independent.


perceived:
With LaTeX people are more productive; they don't fart around with
formatting but focus on content.



Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 11-05-2009, 04:20 AM   #6
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paddy's not St.Pat View Post
I just want to know if there can be an alternative to Open Office, Org.
Of course their can....in fact, as has already been stated, there are.

I'm not sure whether you objection is to 'wysiwig-style' word processors, but there other wysiwig-style options, if that's what you want (eg, abiword).

Alternatively, I have used wordstar/runoff to write large documents (equivalent, in a different world, to vim/troff) and that wasn't too bad, but, these days, I'd prefer using wysiwig-style, myself.

Personally, I wouldn't want to be writing a book in 'straight' emacs (rather than using emacs as a preparation tool for plain text to be fed into another tool), but that isn't an indication of whether it is possible or not. But it doesn't help that I'm not an emacs fan, in any circumstances, but YMMV.
 
Old 11-05-2009, 05:12 AM   #7
jschiwal
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A publisher would probably need to retype your OpenOffice document into their own typesetting markup language (such as sgml) before it is published. For scientific or mathematic papers, you may not only be required to use LaTeX, but to use their environment package as well.
 
Old 11-05-2009, 05:57 AM   #8
rikijpn
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escape meta-key alt control shift

Emacs is not only oriented for programming, but one of the reasons it is used for that a lot is that is has macros, that means you can teach it to do stuff for you. Some of these often used macros are put into "modes", which in programming language editing is used to find the end of a block, insert auto-formatted lines (like "if [] ; do ... then ... done"), comment lines, auto-complete, etc.
I'm an emacs fan myself, and use it a lot. In html mode, it can insert for you all what you need in an html file (I forget tags a lot), and of course lots of often used tags are "abbreviated" into emacs commands for that mode, like C-c 1 for <h1></h1>, C-c j for <br>, etc. Which in my opinion, saves a lot of time. It's certainly faster than typing the tags, and in many times (at least for me) faster than having to use GUI program and click to insert the tags/select the file, etc.
You can even check your e-mail with it.

If you just want to write documents to print out (like you usually would using an office program), probably LaTeX is what you want. It uses tags, like html, and in emacs it has the same advantages, and some others (like compiling the file from emacs, check for uncompleted blocks, etc). But it will probably take a while to get used to if you are used to wysiwig programs(like open office). Well, at least for reports and stuff like that all I use (and my friends at University) is LaTeX.

If you want to write stuff for yourself (like custom man pages for programs written by yourself, or just useful program usages you forget often --like me--), you should check troff, it is the formatting language used for man pages, and of course there is an emacs mode for it.
 
Old 11-05-2009, 04:11 PM   #9
paddy's not St.Pat
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Many thanks

I would like to thank everyone for responding. I'm almost 60 yrs old and I just started computing about 3 years ago. I've tried to learn most of this on my own without bothering anyone, but I needed to know if I was heading in the right direction. Once again, thank you, from paddy's not St.Pat
 
Old 11-05-2009, 04:36 PM   #10
SaintDanBert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paddy's not St.Pat View Post
...
I believe the power of Unix and Linux is that an editor can be used to fill a file with text also. It can, but what about ...
...
Short answer: Yes you can. I wrote and published my Master's Thesis in 1979 using Emacs and friends.

Longer answer: The other details you ask about are called "page markup." My Ubuntu Hardy Heron (v8.04.3 LTS) distro supports nroff, groff, troff as markup tools. One typed the text, then added various items of markup -- strings that begin with a period at start of line. It looks like the source code in an HTML file
but with different details. If my long-in-tooth memory serves correctly, "man pages" were the result of this sort of mark-up until very recently when other techniques prevailed. I think, too, that either WordStar(tm) or WordPerfect(tm) used something similar.

BTW -- Prompted by your question, I tried nroff. [Laughing] It still works!


~~~ Dan 0;-D
 
Old 11-06-2009, 06:03 AM   #11
salasi
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TBH, I'm still not sure that we have got to the bottom of what you actually want to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paddy's not St.Pat View Post
Almost all the information regarding EMACS is geared towards programming. I believe the power of Unix and Linux is that an editor can be used to fill a file with text also.
In some ways, this is the wrong way round. You can file a file with text, and that allows you to do programming. it also allows you to do anything else that you can do by filling a file with text.

Quote:
It can, but what about page breaks for printing? What about printing text created with EMACS? I've been taking the EMACS tutorial and it gives you the mechanics of EMACS...
Well, an emacs tutorial will tell you about emacs....you can't really criticise it for that. If you are going to 'post-process' the text with something else, then you need to know about the details of the post processing you are going to apply (ie, also read the tutorial on the post-processor).

Quote:
but there's more to writing a book than check spelling or how to move the cursor. Where can I find this stuff out?
Well, it is true that there is more to writing a book, there might be issues of storyline and plotting, use of fonts, binding, marketing and advertising and on to a nearly infinite extent. I don't think that is what you are asking, but I don't know what you are asking actually is.

Quote:
I just want to know if there can be an alternative to Open Office, Org. I would appreciate any information I can get. It seems this is one of the best kept secrets regarding Unix and Linux, because I have been having a hard time finding any of this out.
As far as I can tell, you want 'notOpenOffice', but it is unclear what this nOO should do, apart from not be Open Office (and even that isn't necessarily all that clear).

There is a division between the wysiwig (what you see is what you get) word processors and what are sometimes called wygiwym (what you get is what you meant) approaches; in wysiwig, you edit in an on-screen representation of the final document (the final document = the printed document....that isn't necessarily true), for wygiwym you specify things like 'header level 2' or 'italics' and although you don't see that implemented at edit-time, the system runs through some process to implement it before the final document is produced.

It seems possible that you object to wysiwig and would like wygiwym, but...

One thing that is often unclear to those who have used other WPs and particularly those who have been through 'the learning by doing approach' (sometimes, 'here's the program, now you go and learn it') is that even the wysiwig programs take different approaches. Something like Word takes the 'just get on with it' approach where users are not pushed to structure their formatting in any way. OO pushes you more towards an approach in which the formatting is looked at a separate item from the document itself, and by setting up the formatting in advance for a document you can take a sort of wysiwym-but-with-real-time-preview approach to your document. This is often missed by people who migrate from, eg, Worm because they want to force OO to behave like Word did.

This is often a cause of dissatisfaction.

Something like koffice takes more of a desktop publishing approach to your document, and some people prefer that (not me, so far, but then I've only tried older versions of koffice, and there have been big changes in the latest version).

If you really want wysiwym, then the troff/nroff/groff/dsr/runoff family of products is easy enough to learn, but doesn't do a great deal (...but if they do everything that you want...). The latex (and all of the front ends for latex, like lyx) are much more capable, but have rather more of a learning curve, but can do a great deal, once you have learnt them.

If you decide on one of the troff-alikes, you can produce your text in any text editor; some will have macros (short-cut key combos) for frequently used formatting codes, but you don't have to use them. You may find that it is less stress on your memory and/or less typing to use macros, but, for some people, that's just another unnecessary layer and something that is designed for comfortable keyboard use (eg, Wordstar and WS-alike, such as joe) is easier.

In any case, there is at least one more tutorial (or the man page) to read.
 
Old 11-06-2009, 03:44 PM   #12
paddy's not St.Pat
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The power of unix, emacs, and vi

I'm learning. I thought that it was wonderful that you can create directories, put files in them and put text into the files. I thought it is wonderful that you can open the terminal and go straight to the file you were working on and use a editor to open it and add content to it. It seemed like an efficient, fast way to do work. It must have been the way things were done, in the beginning. I wanted to experience it. You can't open a file that was written with Open Office. org with emacs or vi or any other editor. I just want to learn alternative ways of doing things. All of you have been very helpful, thank you.
 
Old 11-06-2009, 05:28 PM   #13
SaintDanBert
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page markup and "man pages"

Take a look at http://www.linuxhowtos.org/System/creatingman.htm for a nice explanation of creating linux man-pages. I offer this because it shows the nroff markup spoken of earlier and the associated shell commands.

All of this done with emacs ... or your favorite plain-text editor ... and the page-markup techniques.

Cheers,
~~~ 0;-Dan
 
Old 11-07-2009, 10:33 AM   #14
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinkster View Post
Absolutely yes ... for a variety of reasons. But to mention only a few:

matter of fact:
For scientific publications you can commonly get styles from the
requester/publisher.

Formatting with LaTeX is completely printer independent.


perceived:
With LaTeX people are more productive; they don't fart around with
formatting but focus on content.



Cheers,
Tink
We just finished a proposal. The "official" template is provided in MSWord, and I was prepared to use this in OOo to do the final production. The lead scientst, however, wanted to do it in LaTex (or more correctly a front end on his Mac.) I saw the power of this approach first hand, and am now curious to learn it.

Note that you can open a terminal and start writing in ANY text editor---then have someone doing the formatting in the tool of their choice.
 
Old 11-08-2009, 02:47 PM   #15
Tinkster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixellany View Post
We just finished a proposal. The "official" template is provided in MSWord, and I was prepared to use this in OOo to do the final production. The lead scientst, however, wanted to do it in LaTex (or more correctly a front end on his Mac.) I saw the power of this approach first hand, and am now curious to learn it.
Cool ... glad to hear that ;}

Quote:
Originally Posted by pixellany View Post
Note that you can open a terminal and start writing in ANY text editor---then have someone doing the formatting in the tool of their choice.
Heh ... you don't say! :}

It's just that a publisher usually has better things to
do than formatting your paper for you. Which is where
their styles come in.



Cheers,
Tink
 
  


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