[rfc-i] How "modern" word processors do it

Martin Rex mrex at sap.com
Fri Jun 1 09:54:30 PDT 2012

Brian E Carpenter wrote:
> My point is anyway that "WYSIWYG" always hides markup and what really matters
> is the richness or poverty of the underlying markup.

I think that assertion is wrong and based purely on mediocre tools that
are so brittle about the underlying markup that exposing it for editing
would break the tools so badly that it wasn't allowed.

While such a restriction may apply to certain editors (including Word),
it is by far not universal.  NRoffEdit has a dual-view UI, where you
edit the raw source in the left pane and get a preview of the resulting
output (WYSIWYG) in the right pane with near-instant conversion.

But the "richer" the meta-data structure, the more CPU-intensive will
be the preview rendering, and the harder it is to find the real information
between the markup dreck.

As it has been previously mentioned, perfection in design is achieved
not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left
to take away. (Antoine de Saint Exupery)

I don't mind when I-D authors use a gigantic complex toolchain and spend
50% of their time with the toolchain (and trying to make it "even better"),
another 30% on creating and maintaining their meta-data, and have a mere
20% of their resources left to spend on actual content.

But the requirements on submission formats should not be made more
difficult from what we have now, which allows I-D authors to spend
>90% of their time on authoring with a tool like NRoffEdit
(which includes an instand spell-checker in addition to the instant


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