9.205 wordprocessing

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Mon, 2 Oct 1995 20:13:52 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 205.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)

[1] From: "Hope A. Greenberg" <hag@moose.uvm.edu> (28)
Subject: Re: 9.197 wordprocessing: summary of discussion

In reply to Paul Falzer's question about word processing:

> At this stage, it seems that people who write for a
> living may be forced to use one piece of software for composing, another for
> editing, a third for formatting, a fourth for disseminating, and a fifth for
> special purposes. The alternative is to use a single piece of gear that
> effects a decent compromise, but ultimately fails to meet their needs.

I'd like to add one more thought to the word processor discussion. I don't
recall anyone framing the discussion in these terms, though some hinted
obliquely: modern word processors are not created for writing, they are
created for printing. Yes, cut and paste, spell check, outlining, grammar
check, and other word processor features help with writing. But how much
of your word processor is devoted to printing on paper? Take a look at
any modern word processor and you will find command after command that
relates to how the text will be printed: paper size, margins, fonts, line
spacing--the list goes on. The impulse to do "desktop publishing" has
driven much of word processor development.

Of course, removing all printing-related commands and replacing them with
options to publish electronically might not (would not?) make the program
smaller. But I would like to see a more modular approach. Create a word
processing kernel that had the writer's tools, then create modules for
how the writing will be disseminated: paper (if you really insist!),
HTML, other SGML DTD's, etc. That might be possible if any given
word processor does not necessarily have to carry along all the baggage
it needs to print on paper.

Hope Greenberg Hope.Greenberg@uvm.edu
Academic Computing http://moose.uvm.edu/~hag
Univ. of Vermont Come visit The Hall's latest addition:
Burlington, VT 05405 The Ovid Project