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Last post Author Topic: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten  (Read 118195 times)

Dormouse

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Ought to be clear that my main issue isn't with markdown as a file format  - though the lack of a truly accepted standard is an issue on its own  - but about the user interface usually presented. I do want WYSIWYG and often I'd prefer to accept a formatting choice rather than typing it. Depends on what I'm doing. I always need to focus on content and words.

From that point of view,  I hope the apps develop and improve rather than being part of a movement to change the way many users prefer to work.

Dormouse

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Text Editors
« Reply #326 on: May 26, 2020, 07:24 PM »
I've been thinking about text editors for programmers and comparing them with the equivalent for writers . And practicing typing by using a pen for writing on my tablet .

As a class, text editors seem stable, feature rich and highly functional; and there's a lot of them for all devices. Nothing similar for writers.

Having been thinking about Android and markdown, I'm moving on tothinking about the editing stage. I can't see anything on Android that would do. And, having thought about it, none of the Windows options I've ever used do what I'd ideally like either. I could design my own app but no feasible way of doing it myself and no obvious market : I read a piece today saying that all text editors were for programmers because editors for writers was such a tiny niche. Low level editing isn't a problem - plenty of options for that. It's the more individual, structured stuff I'm interested in. So I naturally wondered about trying an actual text editor. Search, find, long documents not a problem. Ditto splits, folds, compare, versions, simple stats. I assume that I can scrub the coloured language syntax, and I've seen at least one saying that it would be easy to set up my own scheme for text files.

Just wondering at this stage. I'm not up for long testing because I need to limit the time I spend on a PC. Thought I might look at Editpad Pro and Ultra Edit. Nothing I've seen is an obvious fit, but neither is anything else. I'd like a sophisticated bookmark system, comments and notes essential.

I'm assuming they'd be useless for markdown files because they'd insist on showing the markdown when I'd only want the text.

Dormouse

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Personally,  I just write text. Bits of formatting added later. If needed... I don't care about document formats at this point and txt is fine.
Actually, I momentarily forgot the complete truth. I sometimes use italics and prefer to write them as I first type.

And, for some types of writing seeing and using markdown isn't a handicap.  Small part of what I'm doing at the moment though.

Shades

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AsciiDocFX has by default a preview screen enabled. AsciiDoc is similar to MarkDown regarding syntax. But the preview is handy. Unfortunately you cannot edit inside the preview window. But having a preview does help you within the text editor section. Clicking in the preview screen does scroll the text editor to the text you clicked in the preview.


Next to that, you could create your own coloring schema for specific combinations of characters in Notepad++. It is likely that other editors provide similar functionality, but I have experience with NotePad++ and this functionality is adequate in it. You must first think up what combination of characters would indicate a bookmark, or whatever else you need/fancy. Add the minimap to Notepad++ and you'll be able to scroll to colored parts with pen, mouse or keys. On a Windows PC or laptop (with touch screen) that is. Not sure what your options are on Android.

Dormouse

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AsciiDoc
Mentioning this has done me a great service. Used it as a search term on Google Play. No Asciidoc but new choices in Markdown editors. Commonmark. Seems to be far more configurable than the others.

I'm not sure I'd use it for writing,  though it might be OK if I use text files and turn line numbers off, but I'm hoping it will work well for formatting text files.

Has preview + edit and edit panel options. Someone suggested adding preview alone. I'm tempted to suggest making preview editable,  which would solve most of my issues. It's the only app I've seen which looks set up to do that because it has six symbol banks for commands,  four of which are purely down to individual choice.  And up to 30 symbols on each.

Dormouse

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might be OK if I use text files and turn line numbers
OK so long as I use no commands, even italics. Using them seems to switch it to commonmark mode even if it later saves the file as txt. Makes sense as txt doesn't support italics so it does leave me looking ideally for an editable 'preview' mode.

Shades

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AsciiDoc
Has preview + edit and edit panel options. Someone suggested adding preview alone. I'm tempted to suggest making preview editable,  which would solve most of my issues.

Good luck with that. If the responses for this functionality in AsciiDoc are anything to go by, it will be bitter disappointment for you and every one else who made such a request already.

Mostly has to do with document structuring. It is relative easy to create a preview from the text. Translating the changes in the preview back to properly structured MarkDown or AsciiDoc appears to be much more prone to errors and results in garbage. At least that was what I understood from forum posts on some obscure AsciiDoc website. I have no trouble imagining that the authors of MarkDown are of a similar mindset.

Which is a shame, as I would agree that such a feature would be good for acceptance of either MarkDown or AsciiDoc as somewhat of a replacement of WordPad in Windows. Perhaps even Word itself.

There is an open source project, called: Open Live Writer, which would be a very solid base for a MarkDown/AsciiDoc "preview editor"...

Dormouse

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I'm not sure about document structuring.  What I do see is that the cursor position on the preview would have to be fed back to the hidden markdown document.  The commands and text would always only work on the markdown document. I  don't see why it couldn't work in theory but I doubt there's enough processing power on most Android machines to do it in real time. There's already a noticeable lag in preview update and adding the fro to the to would kill it.

Very nice to hear that there are other people with the same wish because it feels totally against this bit of the zeitgeist.

panzer

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Zettbox (free for now):
https://www.zettbox.com/


Dormouse

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From an Ultraedit blog :
Markdown is a plain text formatting syntax aimed at making writing for the internet easier.
That fits with the way I see it, and there it succeeds. I'd use it for that myself with no qualms.

Dormouse

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Zettelkasten-like system used by Andy Matuschak:
https://notes.andyma...3ViqN3hh3SmrKzjQxWAr
Thank you
Seems like a good day for having prejudices confirmed  8)

Maybe I should stop reading now

Nod5

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I haven't kept up with this thread, but here is just a quick comment on reading Markdown text directly: I find it very easy after only a little practice. At least when the text uses only light formatting (headings, lists, italics, bold, links, ...).  Note also that syntax styling/highlighting in VS Code now also show bold/italics directly in the Markdown text. I used to keep the live preview pane open all the time, but now open it mostly at the end to overview and make small fixes.

vscode.png
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 12:33 PM by Nod5 »

wraith808

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I'm not sure about document structuring.  What I do see is that the cursor position on the preview would have to be fed back to the hidden markdown document.  The commands and text would always only work on the markdown document. I  don't see why it couldn't work in theory but I doubt there's enough processing power on most Android machines to do it in real time. There's already a noticeable lag in preview update and adding the fro to the to would kill it.

Very nice to hear that there are other people with the same wish because it feels totally against this bit of the zeitgeist.

If you want to be able to edit in the preview, Texts does just that, which is the reason that I don't use it.  I like to have my hands on the actual text of the document, but this software does it WYSIWYG and the backing file is just Markdown.  I was going to show some examples, but I can't run it right now :(

welcome_to_texts.pngI'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten

Nod5

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If you want to be able to edit in the preview, Texts does just that
Alternatively Typora, which at least someone uses for zettelkasten.

wraith808

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Alternate link for the above which doesn't rely on Medium's pay gate:

https://stoweboyd.co...ttelkasten-in-typora

After reading that, I'd think that if you can get around the need for having editable markdown, https://hackmd.io would be stellar for this!

panzer

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Obsidian is a powerful knowledge base that works on top of a local folder of plain text Markdown files:
https://obsidian.md/

Nod5

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@wraith808, thanks. Are you using hackmd? Looks nice.

@panzer, same question, are you using obsidian?

My biggest takeaway from this thread is that there is an abundance of cool markdown/plaintext tools out there. The big challenge is finding one that fits best with your own workflow and use cases and will not be deprecated soon.

panzer

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@panzer, same question, are you using obsidian?

I just found about it earlier today.

Brand new software, I think.

wraith808

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@wraith808, thanks. Are you using hackmd? Looks nice.

Yes, quite a bit.  So much so that I pay for it.  I'm writing my book in it (it has a book type layout), and I thought reading this thread the autolinking feature would be nice for this system.

Dormouse

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Which is a shame, as I would agree that such a feature would be good for acceptance of either MarkDown or AsciiDoc as somewhat of a replacement of WordPad in Windows. Perhaps even Word itself.
I think that's where the market will be and developers will always chase the market in the end. The major requirement is that there has to be a reasonably simple way of printing or publishing. The world hasn't gone completely digital. I still have clients who require hard copy and I suspect that many recent converts have been mostly motivated to avoid the snail and expect to print internally.

Dormouse

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So I am still struggling with one-note one-thought.  Specifically, what i think is one note ends up being a whole  bunch of thoughts. 

I'd recommend reading this set of links from Panzer. I've not read all of them yet,  but will. I've never read anyone whose thinking (so far) aligns so well with my own. I'm hopeful I'll find a useful addition to my own practice and, if not, it will be a nice ego boost.
Like me, he seems to be respectful of the way he believes Luhmann worked but sceptical of the the methods of his modern acolytes.
To paraphrase something I think you intimated earlier, the thinking is the actual goal, not the physical note.

I'll also point out that these are actual examples of notes.

Zettelkasten-like system used by Andy Matuschak:
https://notes.andyma...3ViqN3hh3SmrKzjQxWAr

https://notes.andyma...A1kDd46whJh2Gt5rAmfX

https://notes.andyma...SEBzTQiCVGoC4GfK3rYW

https://notes.andyma...FPTZSK3UmdsGExLRfZz1

https://notes.andyma...rQNKr6u7AZ1jFzfTVbMF

ED: I've now read his note on why books don't work. I sort of agree with much of it, but his understanding of the underlying science is over simple and he's looking out of his car to where he's going rather than taking time to see all the ideas on both sides.
So no longer completely aligned.
 :)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 04:06 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Obsidian is a powerful knowledge base that works on top of a local folder of plain text Markdown files:
https://obsidian.md/
This looks very interesting. I'll give it a go. When I can find time on a PC, since it doesn't seem to have an Android app.

Dormouse

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@wraith808, thanks. Are you using hackmd? Looks nice.

Yes, quite a bit.  So much so that I pay for it.  I'm writing my book in it (it has a book type layout), and I thought reading this thread the autolinking feature would be nice for this system.
I'll try this one out too, again within the limits of my PC time. I'll look at Texts too.

Nod5

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Yes, quite a bit.  So much so that I pay for it.  I'm writing my book in it (it has a book type layout), and I thought reading this thread the autolinking feature would be nice for this system.

Cool! Do you have a view on the difference between HackMD and CodiMD? AFAICT they started out as the same project, but CodiMD is a FOSS fork. Confusingly HackMD github seem to still have a (competing) CodiMD repo.

https://hackmd.io/
https://github.com/hackmdio

https://github.com/codimd
https://demo.codimd.org/features#