[OS X TeX] What do I miss out on?

Peter Pagin peter.pagin at philosophy.su.se
Mon Apr 11 16:32:54 EDT 2005

Thanks, Joachim,
for these reassuring reflections. Maybe I can now stop losing sleep for 
a while over the advantages of Emacs and TeXniscope. And as a 
philosopher by profession I naturally also appreciate your sort of 
existentialist approach to editors.


PS (And sorry for misspelling 'Maarten' in the previous mail.)

Joachim Kock wrote:

>>What do I most importantly miss out on by not using BBEdit, or Emacs, 
>>or Alpha(X/TK), or TextWrangler, or TextMate, or something yet more
>>interesting instead (or as external editor in combination with)?
>Ah hm, here we go (without mentioning any editors in particular):
>Since "We On This List Do Not Use WYSIWYG Word Processors" (right?)  (and
>also "We Eschew Formated Emails", right?), everything we write is pure
>text: TeX, emails, occasionally a html page or a wiki page, a short shell
>script, a little maple programme...
>That's a large part of our interaction with computers, and it is nice to
>have one dedicated tool for all this: a multi-purpose text editor.  Then
>many powerful features are common: search-and-replace with regular
>expressions, keyboard shortcuts for manipulating text, completion triggers,
>navigation schemes, diff functionality, comment handling, and
>auto-this-or-that.  And then for each of those types of text editing, the
>editor provides a 'mode' with specific functionality, like context
>sensitive completions, interaction with an external programme,
>auto-uploading of wiki pages, or whatever.
>Commonly, these multi-purpose editors are very configurable and scriptable,
>and soon you have an environment tailor made for your typing habits.  Soon
>you feel crippled whenever you find yourself typing in another programme
>-- Eudora is a great Mail application, but it doesn't have that handy
>keyboard shortcut for capitalising current word, or whatever you have grown
>accustomed to using, and so on.  Typing outside your favourite editor is
>like typing with ten thumbs...  This goes for typing in another powerful
>editor too!  When you first try out an alternative editor you will probably
>find it awkward or intimidating.  It has often been said that the choice of
>editor is like the choice of religion, and mostly you just stick to the
>first one you get into.  Indeed, to be able to judge a fullblown editor you
>must use it for many years, in order to feel its spirit and take advantage
>of its power.  And once you are that far, perhaps there is not much point
>in switching...
>Of course it is not without risks getting too much involved with an editor.
>Sometimes you simply spend far more time on configuration and scripting
>than could possibly be justified rationally in terms of those milliseconds
>you gain with your smartnesses -- admit it then, that your editor is
>becoming a toy (too)!  (Just like your computer, perhaps...)  And sometimes
>you develop a reality distortion and must absolutely use your editor as a
>spread-sheet or as an interface to iTunes, or to read the weather forecasts
>or to play tetris, even if there are much better interfaces available.  You
>are becoming a slave...
>So there are many good reasons to stick with TeXShop and Mail...
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Peter Pagin
Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University
106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
tel: +46-8-162813, fax: +46-8-152226
email: peter.pagin at philosophy.su.se

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