On Monday 16 March 2009 10:57:12 am Lucas González wrote:
> http://www.linuxtoday.com/infrastructure/2009031600335OSDTSW
> "distraction-free writing environment" :-)
> Lucas

Hi Lucas,

My heart skipped a beat upon hearing about reStructuredText Markup language. I 
was looking for something like that as I wrote my book in VO. But deeper 
examination of reStructuredText Markup language revealed two problems -- one 
an inconvenience and one a showstopper.

The inconvenience is table construction -- it's very impractical for a guy 
like me who can put several paragraphs within a single cell. But heck, that 
can be worked around.

The showstopper is that there's absolutely no provision for custom styles, at 
least from what I could see in the quickstart, the quick reference, and the 
specification. Writing a long document without custom styles is a Keystone 
Kops experience.

I spoze one could do what I did on my last book, and if you have a custom 
style called "story", you could delineate it with <story> and </story> within 
VimOutliner, and then in the resulting document manually convert those to the 
story paragraph style of your creation. But it sure would have been nice to 
be able to have the converter convert the style, so that all you'd need to do 
on the other end is create the story style. Or better yet, the converter 
could create a dummy story style that looks just like body text, and then you 
can modify that style and watch all text to which it's applied change 

I could go on and on and on about various wordprocessors claiming to be 
professional, but having very rudimentary facility for styles, especially on 
converted documents. This is one of the reasons I use LyX -- styles are built 
into the LyX project's basic charter, and also they're built into LaTeX, the 
language to which LyX converts its native format.

This makes me think. Perhaps there could be an ultra-simple way to designate 
the beginning and end of a paragraph or character style (they'd have to be 
different) within VimOutliner, and then have the converter program create 
dummy styles in a layout file (LyX), or dummy styles in a CSS file (HTML). If 
one uses only styles to convey formatting changes, and I really believe 
that's the only way formatting changes SHOULD be conveyed in a long document, 
that would be sufficient to quickly turn a VO outline into a book. Paragraph 
styles would be unnecessary for headlines because they're implied by their 
depth. But character styles would be valuable within headlines, and both 
character and paragraph styles would be ultra-convernient within body text.

Trouble is, I'm the only person I know who uses both VimOutliner and LyX, and 
although I know many who author HTML with VimOutliner, I'm not nearly good 
enough at CSS to implement the HTML conversion program.

I'm copying the LyX mailing list to let them know how much I appreciate their 
facilitation of styles-based documents.



Steve Litt
Recession Relief Package

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