WYSIWYG Editor in Self ?

Jecel Assumpcao Jr jecel at lsi.usp.br
Wed Jul 31 14:23:00 UTC 1996

Huebner wrote:
> is there anybody who wrote a WYSIWYG Editor in Self?

Not exactly, but as Randy pointed out most of the
elements are already there.

> My dream editor would be one with a LaTeX-like internal representation of the document
> and a WYSIWYG interface with a very intuitive interaction.

I once read (in IEEE Computer a few years back, I think)
about an editor that represented structured text as a
Pascal-like program. Executing this would generate a
WYSIWYG view. You could edit either the output (and
have the source updated automatically) or edit the
program view (and see the output change instantly).

My mother's biggest frustration in learning Word for
Windows is that it doesn't have a "Reveal Codes"
command like she is used to in Wordperfect. She can't
figure out why some lines are some distance from the
margin. I have just looked in the manual, and you can
pop a small window that will tell you all formatting
options that are in effect at any given point in the text
but that is not the same thing as seeing the structure
of the formatting.

> The LaTeX representation should enable the easy usage of user defined constructs.

Except that it would be best to use Self itself as the
language rather than LaTeX or inventing a new one. It
would be pretty close to TeX anyway as Morphs use the
same structure for formatting.

> To handle this in a WYSIWYG system it would be necessary to provide views behind the curtains.

Yes, the same way you can now see the morphs or the
outliner for the same object.

> The interaction should be very object oriented, i.e.
>         first select an object (or a group of objects)

This is not as simple as it sounds - see the core sampler.

>         then  get the menu of possible messages from that object(s)
>         then  select a message
>         then  provide arguments to the upcoming form
>         then  confirm/cancel the operation

We already have that with the yellow menus, right?

> For undo-able argumentless messages the last 2 steps are superfluous.
> For very often used methods there should be short key sequences to call the method.

There are some short-cuts too.

> The most today WYSIWYG systems are function oriented so it wouldn't be good to mimic
> their interfaces.

Not really - most editors are now based on Larry Tesler's Smalltalk
copy/cut/paste system. The object/command sequence is a given in
window systems.

> The best thing of an editor in Self would be the possibility to extend/change the editor
> to the needs of the user. This should be supported by a good help facility.

If you extend it, how can the help keep up?

> Emacs is a prototype for an extensible (but ASCII) editor. It has a help system with
> some good ideas. But there remain unfulfilled wishes.

I have just learned Emacs, but think the structured editing in Self
has much more potential.

> My requirements are very strong, so I would welcome for the first time a simple WYSIWYG
> editor which supports different formats (headings, main text, item ...).
> Later there could be extras like equations, tables, references, ... .

Adding all these things is trivial. Adding them so that they are
easy to use is the hard part.

> I hope my ideas don't sound too silly.

-- Jecel

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