Re: utf8, macos x, and fmt

  • From: John Lamoreaux <jclam@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wilyfans@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 8 May 2003 09:33:08 -0500

Many thanks to all who responded to my query. This is a great list, as befits a great text editor (or should one call it a ``window manager''?).

I hope you all don't mind if I share a few words about wily/acme.

I'm an historian by training, and I spend most of my day writing about medieval Arabic manuscripts. Lots of messy text manipulation. Lots of LaTeX. Lots of XML database entries.

Wily is simply the most efficient and pain-free way to do what I do. Nothing else that I've tried comes close. For instance, I just finished compiling the indices for a recent book. I rather suspect that doing this with one of the traditional editors for MacOS or Unix would easily have taken twice, maybe three times as long. And who knows what damage it would have done to my poor hands. I still remember the pains in my hands that resulted from my time as an emacs user.

What do I like best about wily?

1. Cording for cut and paste. Such a simple idea, and yet such an efficient way to do things.

2. The ability to take the results of a command and go immediately to the file and the line in question. Take, for instance, a directory containing 15 chapters of a book. Grep -n and there you have every instance of the \pageref that you need. And with one click you've got the file open at the spot you need. Or what if your copy editor tells you that you need to capitalize some word when used in some contexts but not in others. Same thing. Imagine the time it would take to do this with another GUI editor (BBEdit, e.g.).

3. Seamless integration via pipes to standard unix utils and to custom text filters. An example, my XML database project receives entries from a variety of different contributors. They are allowed to mark up the text for transliterated Arabic using a variety of transliteration schemes: ArabTeX, LaTex diacritics, or any number of the French, German, or English practices. I receive the entries. Select all. And then send the text to one of the dozen little Cocoa text filters I wrote. Voila. UTF8 text with transliterated characters in the format required for the project.

4. The ability to work with Unicode. Granted, I have not figured out if it's possible to have a variety of input methods. Still, who needs them. Write your Georgian or Greek text in transliteration, send to filter, and instant UTF8.


1. An optical mouse, with three wide buttons ...

2. Flicker free redrawing of text.

3. Syntax highlighting. I'd be curious to hear what others think on the subject. I am surprised how much I miss it when I've got a chapter with 200 small footnotes.

4. Better documentation for non-specialists such as myself. I'm trying to do my small part here. You all can expect a contribution soon: Wily and Unicode for Dummies.

5. A default color schema that more closely approaches acme's soothing palette.

6. Packaged version for MacOS X. I'm working on that too. (I might add that I have been using wily with Apple's X server for some months now, and it seems to work as it should.)

But I go on.


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