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LinuxGuru: Structured Editing in Emacs

Nov 14, 2002, 09:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Alejandro Imass)

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[ Thanks to djm for this link. ]

"This article focuses on the use of Emacs to edit SGML mark-up and it's derivatives like XML and HTML. If you have never used Emacs or dislike it for some reason, don't worry I did too. I always wondered what people could see in such a complicated and unfriendly thing. Nevertheless, when I started writing in Docbook, I immediately realized I needed a tool far more sophisticated than a pretty and colorful text editor. In the beginning I did a lot of work in Nedit, one of my favorite editors, but it fell very short of what I thought should be the perfect structured editor: it had to be and editor that could automate indent-ion, that would keep the paragraphs neat, could check the spelling of the character data only, and most importantly that would have contextual and real-time validation against any given DTD. Now, this sounds like a very hard wish list to satisfy, but I discovered Emacs can easily do this and a lot, lot more. I could have never guessed the power and flexibility of Emacs if it did not impress me they way it did with SGML editing. In fact, after discovering Emacs through structured editing, it is becoming my swiss knife, and hopefully when you finish this article it will become yours too.

"I recently tried LyX with Docbook and I think that this approach also has a lot of future and facilitates the transition from WYSIWYG to the structured way of thinking for most users. Nevertheless, it will never give you the liberty, the power, and flexibility of using a tool like Emacs + PSGML, especially if you have a programming background..."

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