On Tuesday 22 March 2011 23:27:45 David L. Johnson wrote:
> On 03/22/2011 10:58 PM, John McCabe-Dansted wrote:

> > 3) Not WYSIWYG.  Normal users clearly expect WYSIWYG. WYSIWYG and
> > WYSIWYM don't need to be mutually exclusive.
> They are to an extent, since WYSIWYG really means that all the document
> contains is what you see on the screen, without additional structure
> that properly formats it for a number of different export situations.

That's not true at all. OpenOffice, MSWord, Abiword and Kompozer are all 
WYSIWYG, and all of them can be used to write styles based content that gives 
structure to the document.

> Think about writing a document in word.  You spend time getting the
> spacing right, the margins to look right, and align all the bits of text
> by hand.  

That's not true at all. In 1999, before knowing about LyX, I wrote a 317 page 
styles based book in MS Word, and you'd better believe the spacing, margins 
and alignment were all governed by styles and not by one-off formatting.

I think the LyX community does itself a grave disservice emphasizing this 
WYSIWYG vs WYSIWYM thing. If I were going to enumerate the good things about 
LyX, it would be something like this:

* It typesets better and more consistently than its non-TeX based competitors.
* It deletes unintentional double spaces and double newlines.
* It always calculates references, TOC and indices correctly, unlike others.
* The black on tan is readable and soothing to the eyes for long workdays.
* Its simple native format invites programmatic document creation and editing.
* It's free software, which protects your documents from vendor lock-in.
* It's an incredibly fast authoring environment.

> Ignoring the difficulty
> > in implementing for a while, having a WYSIWYG mode would be great.
> > After the content is complete, I go though a cycle of: Notice
> > something weird with the line-breaking in the PDF, muck around with
> > the LyX source hoping it fixed the problem;
> No.  TeX handles all that, don't ask users to spend effort in dealing
> with how lines break.  Write the paper, let TeX format it.  I would not
> want to worry about how it looks on the page while writing, that is a
> bad habit that you can avoid with LyX.

I have to disagree again. If there's something "weird with the line-breaking" 
in the PDF, then it will make the reader uncomfortable, and you can't just say 
"Let TeX handle it", because apparently it didn't, and the reader must be 
comfortable. Long words, URLs, monospaced type are just a few of the things 
that make funny line breaks in default-formatted LyX docs. And by funny line 
breaks I mean lines walking right off the page, which is a fatal error as far 
as the reader's concerned. Most such problems can be handled by \sloppy, but 
unless you want the whole doc sloppy, you must do that on a paragraph by 
paragraph basis.

When I began using LyX in 2001 and complained about the prodigious difficulty 
of making your own paragraph styles, some people told me "just use the 
defaults." Scuse me? LyX didn't provide a Warning style, and my readers needed 
one. It didn't provide a Story style, and my readers needed one. Saying to 
just use the defaults is a lot like telling a programmer to use standard 
cooked input on a keyboard driven menu system. Sure, it's easier for the 
programmer, but the user has to hit double the keystrokes, and he'll hate the 
end product.

I wrote an article about some of this ten years ago:



Steve Litt
Recession Relief Package
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/stevelitt

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