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New author seeking editor for first story. NoSex, SciFi, Action, Drama

Wolfman
Updated:

Greetings.

I am searching for an available person for editing / proof reading a story.

Overall table of Contents for story arc available.

Chapter 1 available within the next couple of days.

Story contains no graphic sex scenes, but most likely will contain reference to off scene sex / innuendo.

Applicable codes will include SciFi, Alien, Space.
Potential additional tags: Workplace, Military, Mystery.

Future stories the above plus Farming, Horror.

This story is a first offering of a new author and will likely need some TLC. I believe my spelling and grammar are mostly correct however, Brain thought he was going to take over the world also. Haha.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
therev

May be interested in proofing for you. I do this for a few others. I look for spell, grammar & flow problems. I generally do not look for any story direction problems unless it stands up & hits me in face.

I can get a bit squiggly about some story lines. I am nearing my 70's & left school at the end of the 70's & so my English 'training' is very 'old school'. Would appreciate a look at Ch 1 to see if we would be compatible for co-operation on this.

Gary
(The Rev)

Ernest Bywater

Gary is very good, he does my work, among others.

Wolfman

@therev: Thank you for being willing to take a look. I checked the volunteer editors page but I didn't see you listed. How might I contact you?

@Ernest Bywater: Thanks for the endorsement.

Ernest Bywater

As well as proof reading for me, Crumbly Writer, Thornfoot, and others I'm not sure of who The Rev does reviews, and he can be contacted through SoL messaging on his review page at:

http://storiesonline.net/library/story_reviews.php?cat=Reviewer&rid=120

It would've been easier if you'd used your author ID on the message, then he could've sent you a system message.

Wolfman

I set up an author account yesterday before posting the OP. I was shown in the author listings then. I checked back just now to retrieve a link but I am no longer shown on the list, checked my account settings and my selected pen name of Wolfman is still linked to me ( not Wolfman5676 ) but it's not listed any longer.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Wolfman

Well you can contact Gary on the link on the page I linked to above.

Author lists only display once you have a story being posted. o the account should still be there, but you won't see it on the author lists until the first chapter of the first story is posted. In a similar process a new Universe or Series won't be in their lists until the 2 nd story is posted to justify it being a multi-story universe or series.

edit to add: If you use the SoL messaging system to contact Gary it's a lot more private and you can give him your usual email address without the world knowing about it.

Wolfman

I have the provided link open in a new window, thank you for that, but RL intrudes ( always? )and havn't yet sent him a msg.
I had assumed the system was just waiting for a story since the pen name was still linked, but it's nice to know what i was thinking is what's actually going on.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Wolfman

You're welcome.

Crumbly Writer

I've never been pleased with the "Editors" listings, and haven't used it for years. Lazeez has made improvements to it, but most have gone the way I have, using the forums to request assistance rather than wading through the formal application process.

Once you start posting, it gets even easier. Whenever someone sends you corrections, evaluate whether they've got a good eye. Compare their results with what your editors pick up on to see whether their advice is generally accepted. If it is, respond encouragingly, specifying how you'll handle the correction, including listing how you resolved the problems. With luck, you'll get more corrections after that.

Once you've determined the reader is reliable and offers consistent advice, invite him to join your editing circle.

The best part about reader/editors, is that they already know your story and your writing style, so you don't have to worry about their trying to change your story on you. (Whenever I get cold-called by an editor, offering to edit but never having read my work, we often end up at loggerheads.)

Also, don't be afraid of asking for more than one editor. The Rev is, as he says, mainly a proofreader. Each volunteer editor tends to specialize in something (grammar, punctuation, spelling, style adherence, etc.) Thus, you don't duplicate efforts when you add editors, you expand your editing expertise. As painful as it can be, you generally want a least one lone wolf calling you on content issues too.

Good luck, and hope your story does well

Wolfman

@CW: Thank you for the well wishes and advice. I'm not really expecting too much of a response as it's a first story.

I have some additional content I plan to include as future support as stand alone shorts. So it's likely to become a universe. I've had the ToC kicking around on my desktop since late December 2016, SO I know exactly where I want this one to go, the route it travels and where it stops.

I'm just mostly concerned with my poor style and lack of content. I've read through the relevant resources listed here at SOL and used / adapted / considered the information before I even began the writing portion, but it still reads a lot like a dialogue driven screenplay. Lacking in things like background / room descriptions, leaving it to the reader to imagine what the room itself contains / appears.

Ernest Bywater

One way I've found to locate an editor is when a reader likes a story enough to send me a list of typos. After the second time they do that I ask them if they want to be an editor, some have agreed and I now have a small group of people who find me every mistake. However, I also have a habit of putting in new mistakes while fixing the reported ones.

Ernest Bywater

@Wolfman

So it's likely to become a universe.


If you're not yet sure it's going to be a universe or series, just write the stories and leave that decision until after you have a few, because you can always create a universe or series and add the stories to it later.

robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

However, I also have a habit of putting in new mistakes while fixing the reported ones.

That's so much more than a mere personal habit. That, and not writing frivolous stories, is the true calling of an author.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Wolfman


but it still reads a lot like a dialogue driven screenplay. Lacking in things like background / room descriptions, leaving it to the reader to imagine what the room itself contains / appears.

Those are normally added during the revision process, which many who post as they write don't partake in. Once you get the basic details in your first draft, you go back and add in anything that's missing (like physical descriptions and 'response shots', as well as clarifying anything left unclear and jettisoning anything not material to the central story (i.e. which doesn't move the story forward)).

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

However, I also have a habit of putting in new mistakes while fixing the reported ones.

You and me both, brother. Luckily, other brothers help fix my funky corrections.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

That's so much more than a mere personal habit. That, and not writing frivolous stories, is the true calling of an author.

It's also why I stopped performing last-minute reviews before I post each chapter. When I did, I'd routinely insert a whole collection of new typos. It produced a lot of new editors, as various people kept catching them for me, but it wasn't helping my reputation any.

awnlee jawking

@Wolfman

You should ask potential editors for links to stories they edited. If you see significant numbers of obvious mistakes in those stories, you have to ask whether the author was reluctant to take criticism on board or whether the editor actually missed them.

AJ

Wolfman

@Awnlee Jawking: That sounds like good advice.

SO,question. When you folks send stuff out to your editors, do you:

send to 1 editor, get return, make corrections, send to editor 2 etc. etc.

or

send to all editors simultaneously getting "x" returns, then make corrections.

awnlee jawking

@Wolfman

I don't use editors for my SOL stories (and it probably shows) and elsewhere I rarely use more than one, but when I do the editors receive the story simultaneously.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@Wolfman

When you folks send stuff out to your editors, do you:

send to 1 editor, get return, make corrections, send to editor 2 etc. etc.


I do it this way, because the first time I tried the other way it was a total mess to copy the changes into the master file because I couldn't always find what they wanted to change due to it already having been changed via an earlier editor return.

Typical story is 50,000 something words - if the editors note 100 words for changing it's easier to use the 'find' option to locate the change in the text than to go through page by page. But if the text is already changed it can't be found.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
TeNderLoin
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

However, I also have a habit of putting in new mistakes while fixing the reported ones.


Boy does he ever! LOLOL!!!

Anyway, if you'll send me a sample, I'll show you how I work.

You can find me on the Editor's page, too.

JIM7@fastmail.us

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Wolfman

SO,question. When you folks send stuff out to your editors, do you:

send to 1 editor, get return, make corrections, send to editor 2 etc. etc.

or

send to all editors simultaneously getting "x" returns, then make corrections.

It depends. Generally, when I finish a complete first draft, it's difficult to get motivated for the often difficult talk of extensive revisions and editing. I always get a decent amount of revised chapters prepared, but will often farm them out a couple at a time, just so the edits don't overwhelm me. Typically I'll release one chapter for ever one I revise. Then, when I complete the full revision process, I'll release the rest.

I've found, with multiple editors, having everyone (or even a few) editing every single chapter,while the others only edit a chapter or two, can be nerve wracking, so I prefer to control their pace.

If, after the book's been thoroughly vetted, and a new author comes on board, I don't mind giving him the entire work, as I'm under no immediate pressure to handle all his edits at once.

That said, for a newbie, you first need to build relationships, so I'd focus on a single editor at a time, as you both learn each other's work habits, your personal writing styles (and which style guidelines you follow) and build trust in each other. Then, once that's done, you move on to the next, using your trust (or distrust) in the previous editor's work to evaluate the new editor's worth (does he catch the previous guy's edits/overlooked errors, or does he introduce entirely new errors?)

That's a more lengthy process, but it's generally worth the extra time. I wrote several books before I finally decided who I could trust and who, despite our getting along, I had to cut loose.

Also, jfyi, I generally like to stay 3 - 5 chapters ahead of my editors, often starting with a healthy 7 chapter lead (though it often dwindles to only 3).

I also like to complete two chapters each week (an extensive work schedule), revise two, edit two and revise two. That's clearly unmanageable unless you're NOT doing anything else, but it shows how I use my editors breathing down my neck to crank out chapters. It's the best way to get past the ('I've already written the damn thing' duldrums and light a fire under my ass to crank out chapters on a regular basis). My editors, however, prefer getting ALL the chapters at once, even if it's only a single editor at a time.

Also note, some editors are proofers (they review the final version to spot any last-minute typos) while others focus on content. The proofers should be the last to review a document, while the content editors should be the first—even if you haven't finished your first draft.

You'll also find that some editors are more thorough than others. Many will simply read the story, marking typos as they encounter them, but the more diligent and professional ones will read through each chapter (or the entire story), making obvious errors, and then double back, going over it in much more detail.

When you get editors like that, you've got to account for their editing style in assigning them work to best utilize their skills.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Typical story is 50,000 something words - if the editors note 100 words for changing it's easier to use the 'find' option to locate the change in the text than to go through page by page. But if the text is already changed it can't be found.

Important point! If you're using a word processor, learn how to use the "Review" feature (different software packages call it slightly different things, though they all offer the same functionality).

The Review function allows you to skip directly from one edit to the next, without having to search for color-coded changes. It's a real time saver, and it also allows your editors to state questions on the side of the story, and shows both the original text and their proposed changes. You simply 'accept' or 'reject' their changes, or reword it to fit your particular story, and then move on.

I've found, the more time you spend fudging with each chapter, the more you're likely to make largely unnecessary changes. This helps the overall story, but you end up with a bunch of new material which never gets reviewed by your editors—which is only a recipe for disaster!

By the way, for comparisons sake (with Ernest) my stories started out around 150,000 to 250,000 dropped for a while to 50,000 to 70,000, and is now back up to around 80,000 to 120,000 (a much happier middle ground). Just for context's sake, I typically average around 20 chapters per book.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@TeNderLoin

Anyway, if you'll send me a sample, I'll show you how I work.

Just for further validation, TeNderLoin also works with me and does excellent work. He's also become a very good author in his own right, so he'll often run short of time if you finish a story while he's in the middle of one. On the other hand, he's also got a decent feel for pacing, character development and story tensions, which is especially helpful if you're not familiar with those yourself.

Crumbly Writer

By the way, we should probably rename this thread: "How to find and work with editors", as the information is useful for all new authors.

Replies:   Wolfman
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Important point! If you're using a word processor, learn how to use the "Review" feature (different software packages call it slightly different things, though they all offer the same functionality).


They do, and the one used by MS Word is not compatible with anything except MS Word, thus the editors who use Word have to colour mark the text for me to see the changes. For the editors who also use Libre Office I simply use the Show Changes or Compare options. Neither of those work with a file worked over in MS Word because word uses non-standard format coding that doesn't translate across. I tried Compare on one Word edited document and found every damn word listed as changes because Word changed all the font formats to its default font.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I tried Compare on one Word edited document and found every damn word listed as changes because Word changed all the font formats to its default font.

That's why I never make changes in the editor's copy, but also transcribe/copy the entire chapters into my 'master file', so I preserve my own formatting.

And while WORD shoves all kinds of invisible crap into your document, most word processors are good about 'importing' documents, converting them into something you can review. Even so, I keep spare copies of both OO (OpenOffice) and LI (LibreOffice) on hand, so I can handle anything an editor, or another author, throws at me. (I still stick with WORD because I learned to use it working in an office environment way back in the 80's and I'm so used to using it (I used to hand code index entries), I feel lost with the free alternatives.)

Just a note: beware of Google Docs, especially if you write about teen sexcapades. If anyone files a complaint with Google, they'll flat out delete your entire account, meaning ALL your work will be forever lost, and there is No appeal or review of their decision.

I'll NEVER use Google Docs. I helped one writer who did, and it almost killed him! (By the way, he is dead now, but for reasons other than Google Docs.)

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I still stick with WORD because I learned to use it working in an office environment way back in the 80's and I'm so used to using it (I used to hand code index entries), I feel lost with the free alternatives.)


I used MS Word 1 on DOS back in the day, and ended up using every version of MS Word and Excel that came out up to 2007 - the forced switch to the 'Fook You Ribbon' was the final killer for me. That and the way the later versions of MS Word screwed over the older files I had saved in the earlier versions from prior years. That's when I finally moved to Open Office full-time and then moved on to Libre Office when Oracle screwed over the crew creating OO. Never looked back. I did find that OO and LO worked more like MS Word 6a than the later versions of MS Word did.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


That's why I never make changes in the editor's copy, but also transcribe/copy the entire chapters into my 'master file', so I preserve my own formatting.


ayep, I save the editor copies with their name and date in them and type the edits I agree with into my master file. The issues come sin trying to locate the edits in their file when the Show Changes doesn't work.

edit to add: most of my editors no use Libre Office for my work.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Wolfman

@Crumbly Writer

Editing my post does not have an option to rename the thread.

I'm not seeing that option. Is it even available?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

The issues come sin trying to locate the edits in their file when the Show Changes doesn't work.

I'm not sure about LO, but for WORD, if they don't flag their changes (for whatever reason) you simply do a "Review > Compare", and it will flag any changes between two different versions for you. I'm sure LO has it's own version of that command, and it should solve the problem for you.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Wolfman

Editing my post does not have an option to rename the thread.

I'm not seeing that option. Is it even available?

No, it's not an option. I was teasing (indirectly suggesting we start a secondary thread discussing what authors need to KNOW about editing, rather than helping one author at a time). Sorry for the confusion.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I'm not sure about LO, but for WORD, if they don't flag their changes (for whatever reason) you simply do a "Review > Compare", and it will flag any changes between two different versions for you. I'm sure LO has it's own version of that command, and it should solve the problem for you.


It works the same way in OO and LO, however, the code used by MS Word to do those is not the same as the industry standard code, so those actions when done in MS Word do not properly convert over to OO or LO - in fact you sometimes have the same issue between versions of MS Word due to code changes by the MS coders.

I once tested the MS Word Compare coding by taking an OO text file opening it up in MS Word changed one word saved it, exported back to .odt in Word, then opened it up in LO - Every word on the file was marked as different due to the way Word had coded the format information. It also showed nothing under the Show Changes option despite both programs having the Record Changes option on. MS Word doesn't like playing with anything else.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


MS Word doesn't like playing with anything else.

Hence my reluctance to cross over. I'll never purchase another version of Office, but as long as the one I have (2010) which works, I'll keep using it. It's like my using .doc files. I choose that because it's the most commonly used and accessible file. Although the free versions are commendable, they're also more problematic.

But then, we're we discussing helping new authors locating decent editors?

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

it's the most commonly used and accessible file.


That's changing because the default format for newer versions of Word is .docx. The .doc format is a strictly binary format, but .docx like .odt is a compressed text file with HTML codes used for formatting.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

locating decent editors?


Word processing software could be considered text editors. :)

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


But then, we're we discussing helping new authors locating decent editors?


True, but the software issues have an effect. There's one editor I no longer send all my work to because it's just too damn hard to deal with the screwed up format on the files because he insists on using MS Word 2013 and it's almost impossible to locate any edits he has. Just way too much work to deal with.

Now all of my regular editors use Libre Office while working on my stuff, and a few have actual found it's better for some of the other authors they edit for, too.

edit to add: I've been helping another author convert his stories to the right html code for SoL. I don't know what software his editors used, but when I did his first story I was in the editorial loop and what he sent out as the original file used only one font type and had one paragraph style. However, what he ended up with after incorporating all the edits from the others had multiple fonts and different paragraph styles, including some order list paragraphs. Clean all the excess code out for the html meant what should have been a 30 minute job became a 2 hour jobs due to all extra excess format code I had to find and remove. I suspect he cut and pasted the edits or used the edited files from some of the editors. That sort of mess only comes about from using different software with different default settings that forced their setting on the document. Having everyone suing the same software can alleviate those problems.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Geek of Ages

Threads like this make me glad I just use Markdown in text files.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

Threads like this make me glad I just use Markdown in text files.


Maybe, but for me to do a Markdown Text file would cause me to triple the length of story preparation. This is due to my intended end product and the process of getting there.

Write story in Libre Office using styles - edit story and put edits in master file (multiple times) - create PDF for print book for sale and preview file - create e-pub for sale - create html for own website - create html file for SoL.

I use several paragraph styles, coloured text, and 3 levels of heading styles. All of them go well in LO, PDFs, and e-pubs with no extra effort by me. Creating the html file from a good LO file takes a few seconds, then about 10 to 30 minutes to clean up the code. The change from the personal website file to Sol takes about 3 minutes to do.

My focus is on a product to sell on the Internet which I also share on SoL. The Markdown Text option doesn't fit with my main focus at all.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I've been helping another author convert his stories to the right html code for SoL. I don't know what software his editors used, but when I did his first story I was in the editorial loop and what he sent out as the original file used only one font type and had one paragraph style.

Yeah, WORD is terrible at embedding useless code (foreign name fields???) that's unneeded by any but a few uses. The only real option is to turn off EACH individual data field in the settings, which is a fairly tedious process, especially if you don't understand what they all refer to. :(

Now all of my regular editors use Libre Office while working on my stuff

And that's why Ikeep handy copies of LO and OO sitting around, even though I don't use them regularly.

Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

Threads like this make me glad I just use Markdown in text files.

Unfortunately, Markdown is better if you're not responsible for your own formatting (ex: you're submitting your work to a mainline publisher with a complete staff of online designers).

For those of us who handle those tasks ourselves, Markdown is essentially worthless, as all it offers is plain, bold, italic and sometimes underlining. Many of us deal with paragraph styles, which Markdown languages don't support. :(

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

Creating the html file from a good LO file takes a few seconds


Creating HTML from Markdown is a sub-second operation, last I checked.

Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

Markdown handles arbitrary HTML. I use that for specific things not in the strict Markdown spec.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

Creating HTML from Markdown is a sub-second operation, last I checked.


Since I only need the HTML and have got that, why would I bother with another step to do that? The Markdown does nothing for me!

Capt. Zapp

@Geek of Ages

Creating the html file from a good LO file takes a few seconds

Creating HTML from Markdown is a sub-second operation, last I checked.


I can't type or read fast enough to worry about a couple of seconds vs sub-seconds. Now if any of the word processors made a save as Markdown option...

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

It allows you to focus on your words and the structure, in an environment better for writing, rather than futzing with style. You can add that later with CSS.

Geek of Ages

@Capt. Zapp

Now if any of the word processors made a save as Markdown option...


Every plaintext editor already does, by default, because Markdown is a plain text format. That's its strength. You can write it in vim or emacs or whatever (or even notepad if you hate good editors).

Personally, I'm fond of Byword for fiction, and Textmate for non-fiction or encyclopedia sorts of things. I've also used both Mou and Macdown and thought they were pretty decent.

If you want a step up, Scrivener natively exports to Markdown now, and I've otherwise heard good things about it. (Though at that point, you're in RTF land, so good luck and have fun)

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Geek of Ages


It allows you to focus on your words and the structure, in an environment better for writing, rather than futzing with style. You can add that later with CSS.


I disagree. I see the styles up in the layout format, and then just concentrate on the words I'm using. For the main text area I use the default paragraph, and quotation paragraph with 3 heading styles and a simple click applies whichever one I want. The other styles are the contents, headers, and footers which are all preset fields and automatically processed by the preset format layout I use.

Thus to write I open up a new layout file, assign a name, save, then type a chapter heading, apply the heading style I want for that chapter, then just type away with the words for the story. A simple highlight and click applies the bold and italics where I want it. I end up with a print ready pdf via a single click, import into Calibre to create an e-pub, then save as html for the html file which I can leave as is or clean up and post to Sol - I clean up and post. I end up with a simple 3 or 4 line CSS.

edit to add: I use bold, italics, red text, blue text, some green text, and indented paragraphs as well as plain text with justified and centred paragraphs. The bulk of the CSS is for the coloured text.

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

* VERY OFF TOPIC *

I have a couple of PDF files I suspect are identical. Is there anything (Windows XP) I can use to compare them?

Thanks, AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

Markdown treats paragraphs normally. You use > for block quotes, and #, ##, and ### can get you harder levels, all no clicking required. Using _ and ** can apply italics and bold again with no clicking.

For things that are colored text, I'd use a custom HTML tag that indicates what the thing is rather than how it's styled. For example, I usually use an HTML tag of "foreign" to denote foreign words, and then in the CSS I indicate that foreign words are to be whatever I want (usually italicized).

A 4-line CSS however sounds absolutely abysmal, and the document probably looks terrible, unless you're working some serious magic. But to get a nice, typographically appealing document, I'd expect a fair bit more.

I'm pretty sure Byword can also export as PDF, though I tend to set up a print-only CSS and just export the generated HTML file to PDF.

I've used the style system in Word pretty extensively before, and don't get me wrong, it's not terrible. It gets the job done pretty well (and is better than the ad-hoc styling people used to do!), and can fulfill needs. But ultimately, I find that I much prefer the control, precision, portability, and simplicity that Markdown gives me. Every time I'm in Word, it just feels clunky and overwrought—and it sometimes doesn't respond to keystrokes. I've never had any Markdown editor I've used simply stop handling keyboard input.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Since I only need the HTML and have got that, why would I bother with another step to do that? The Markdown does nothing for me!

Markdown is, and always has been, entirely about 'freeing writers' from the constraints of formatting. But for those of us who publish independently (i.e. we don't have a publishing house handling formatting for us), we need to format our work so it can be published. A markdown leaves you with a text document, with a couple of flags for italics and bold text, which no publishing outlet would ever accept. Most require either a word processor file or a completely formatted epub.

I can't type or read fast enough to worry about a couple of seconds vs sub-seconds. Now if any of the word processors made a save as Markdown option...

They have one, it's known as "Save as text file".

Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

It allows you to focus on your words and the structure, in an environment better for writing, rather than futzing with style. You can add that later with CSS.

There's a Hell of a lot more to formatting a book than simply adding a CSS. The CSS simply instructs a website/epub how to interpret the elements in the underlying document, but if there is no formatting (like identifying the different types of paragraph types), it won't buy you anything.

With Markdown text, you can't specify paragraph types, all you can do is to flag italics and bolded text like the SOL submission engine does, with underscores and stars.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

The bulk of the CSS is for the coloured text.

Note: As far as I recall, Ernest is the only SOL author to focus so extensively on text color as a major publishing concern. Since print books typically don't allow any color, unless you want to pay substantially more per page produced, it's a relatively meaningless issue for most authors.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Capt. Zapp

@Geek of Ages

Every plaintext editor already does, by default, because Markdown is a plain text format. That's its strength. You can write it in vim or emacs or whatever (or even notepad if you hate good editors).


Maybe I misunderstand Markdown. I was under the impression that it is not a WYSIWYG since the writer has to put the code into the plain text where it can be seen, which is then converted to the proper display later.

What I meant was it would be nice to use a WYSIWYG editor that saves using the Markdown coding.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

With Markdown text, you can't specify paragraph types


Yes you can. I do it all the time.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Geek of Ages

@Capt. Zapp

Properly speaking, Markdown is a standard for translating the way people were marking up plaintext already into nicely formatted HTML and so on. Whatever editor you like to put on top of that is fine; the innovation is in the editor, not the format.

Textmate, for instance, will make heading lines bigger and italicize/bold things as a way of letting you know what the Markdown engine will do. My recollection is that Byword does similar, and responds to the standard keyboard shortcuts for bold/italics.

Things like Mou provide a live preview as you write the Markdown, so you can see what it looks like and adjust if you desire (I usually don't bother because I find it distracting, especially as it doesn't conform to my usual style sheets)

As for an editor that's more WYSIWYG and saves to Markdown, I'm pretty sure I've seen some out there, but can't recall the names of any. I'm also pretty sure that I've seen that in a number of online forms that accept Markdown (having a WYSIWYG mode, that is).

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Geek of Ages

Right, I just remembered. Scrivener now is a WYSIWYG editor that stores native RTF but easily converts it to Markdown for processing.

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

I have a couple of PDF files I suspect are identical. Is there anything (Windows XP) I can use to compare them?


There's not any that can do a direct comparison that I know of. PDF is essentially an image of the page, the same as if you used a camera to take a photo of the page. You should also be able to highlight and copy the text in the pdf then paste that into a normal word processor file, save it, and run a comparison between the two.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

A 4-line CSS however sounds absolutely abysmal, and the document probably looks terrible, unless you're working some serious magic. But to get a nice, typographically appealing document, I'd expect a fair bit more.


The short CSS file works perfectly as the only things it needs to do for me is to identify where I want the text centred or in the colours I use. The result is about what you see on SoL.

As to the extra typing you say I need to do Markdown, I find it's a lot easier to what I do than having to remember to type in the extra code as I go, the way you do when typing basic html code in Notepad etc. Without having to work on including the code I can focus on writing the story.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

As far as I recall, Ernest is the only SOL author to focus so extensively on text color as a major publishing concern. Since print books typically don't allow any color, unless you want to pay substantially more per page produced, it's a relatively meaningless issue for most authors.


I think your first sentence is true. However, using the red and blue text the way I do makes it look nicer in the e-pub readers that allow colour and in the html version. Also, the blue is the main colour I do use for special text and it shows in the PDF as lighter text than the normal text, thus it helps to stand out as different in the print book copies.

I use Green 4 for the story title, Red 4 for Chapter headings, Blue 4 for Sub-chapter headings, and Blue 4 with italics for Notes and special text like letters within the story. If you regard normal black text as being a display weight of 4 in a print book you get a comparative black text weights of:

Green 4 = 6
Red 4 = 7
bold text = 6
normal Text = 4
Blue 4 = 3

Thus the blue does look different in the black and white print book and an e-reader that strips out colour. However, in a html file or an e-reader that allows colour to display (which is where I have the majority of readers) is looks a lot nicer with the colours to liven up the story.

I know it isn't needed, but it looks better. I regard the use of colour the same way as another certain unnamed author likes to liven up his stories by using images for the chapter heading in some stories.

Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

having to remember to type


...huh?

I mean, the use of asterisks and underlines to indicate emphasis in plain text is really old. When I was learning to type in elementary school, it was already an established convention. And using HTML tags as markers in plain text is as old as HTML. I was doing that in IMs and emails in middle school.

Like, saying, "I have to remember the markup" is like saying "I have to remember to type the exclamation point". Why would you have to "remember" something that is fundamentally already part of the typographical convention of the text?

Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

I use Green 4 for the story title, Red 4 for Chapter headings, Blue 4 for Sub-chapter headings, and Blue 4 with italics for Notes


This is the sort of thing you would use CSS for. In the Markdown, you provide the title/header structure, and indicate the notes, and then in the CSS you specify what those things should actually be rendered as. That's the whole point of the HTML/CSS dichotomy: in one you can focus on content and structure, in the other you can focus on what it looks like for various display types.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

I mean, the use of asterisks and underlines to indicate emphasis in plain text is really old. When I was learning to type in elementary school, it was already an established convention.


Maybe it was, but it wasn't taught to me when I did typing classes because we were taught to just type the text. However, to do it that way requires the inclusion of extra characters in the text that would have to be removed to create a normal Print Ready PDF, a normal e-pub, and a normal HTML file, so Markdown is extra work that's a waste of time for me.

There's no reason for me to include the extra characters for the Markdown or the HTML in the story master file, in fact, there's plenty of reason for to not do what you suggest. The fact the html is the last and final level copy of the lowest priority makes it damn stupid to do all that extra work just to make it work for Markdown.

Replies:   Geek of Ages  Capt. Zapp
Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

This is the sort of thing you would use CSS for


I use the CSS to identify in the html files where I use the colour and where I centre a paragraph, that's all. That's why it's so short.

Within the HTML version I use the codes of h1, h2, h3, p, b, i, blockquote, and the span commands for the colour. The Save as HTML function in Libre Office adds the h1, h2, h3, p, b, i, and blockquotes for me because the master file has those styles in the layout format. What I do need to do is to change the font commands for the colour to span commands for the colour while I remove the excess format codes. All very simple.

Capt. Zapp

@Geek of Ages

Why would you have to "remember" something that is fundamentally already part of the typographical convention of the text?


Because some of us never had he training. I never took a typing course and never used HTML in plain text. When I used a typewriter, if I wanted Bold, I would backspace and over-type to make it bold. When I started using a word-processor, I used ctrl-b to make it bold. Underline was done with backspaces and underscores, now with ctrl-u. Easy-peasy and I see what I expect to see in the end. Typing *this* does not show me a word in bold.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

extra characters in the text that would have to be removed


Huh? The converter applies the styling as appropriate. The only manual action you have to take is selecting the menu option for "Convert to whatever" and possibly choosing some options. It's no more work than any other export. And with Markdown, you have an actual flexible file format to work with, instead of a proprietary blob.

And especially when you get into the realm of things like Pandoc, you should pick the best native format, because it's trivial to convert around.

(That said, I think the best option is to export Markdown into HTML, use that for the ePub (since as I recall, ePub is literally just HTML in a zip file) and have a style sheet to make generating the PDF pretty. It's far easier to style things correctly in CSS than it is any other style system I've worked with, Word included)

Capt. Zapp

@Ernest Bywater

I agree, but since there are options to 'save as' HTML, PDF, or plain text, I think it would me nice to be able to save as markdown as well.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

That sounds no simpler than using plaintext everything—and then you get all of the benefits of plaintext.

I mean, ultimately, you do you. But still, whenever I see threads like this of people complaining about Word and Libre Office and all the bullshit that happens because of using them...

Yeah, I'm pretty happy with Markdown. I get exactly what I want without any of this fuss.

Geek of Ages

@Capt. Zapp

I never took a typing course


This is just bizarre to me. I've been taking typing classes since I was pretty much old enough to read.

Also, things like asterisks to indicate emphasis cropped up in a world dominated by plaintext. Of course it's not in bold—plaintext doesn't have a bold per se.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Ernest Bywater

I did four different typing classes between 1970 and 1990, each was about 5 years apart and the last 3 were organisational ones with the last 2 being the use of computer software. The first two were typewriter based classes. In neither of the first two classes did they teach anyone to include anything other than the characters of the words you want to type, in the later two classes they taught how to use bold and italics within the software to assign them to the characters while you type.

As to the characters you say to include because they're old hat, from what I've learned in the last 20 years they're characters inserted for the typesetters to alert them to the fact a different type is needed for that word, thus they were only ever used in the preparation of a document for typesetting and book manuscripts and were never used in general business communications. During the 1960 to 1980 before computer prepared documents became the rage I saw millions of business documents and not one of them used any of the conventions you mentioned.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Ernest Bywater

General Comment on Why Markdown text is a total waste of time for me.

I have a preset story format layout in Libre office with the Heading and paragraph styles I use. Thus when i write a story I simply type in the words, click on the style to use if it is not the default paragraph style or text. Thus the only time I need extra work beyond the word characters is the click to indicate the application of the paragraph style or bold or italics.

When I've finished writing the story one click provides me with a print ready PDF for publishing a print book. Three clicks to Save as HTML gives me a working HTML file for websites. Five clicks to open the file in Calibre and create an e-pub gives me an e-pub ready for e-book sales. Thus with only nine mouse clicks I have 3 different formats.

The extra work comes in cleaning excess format code out of the HTML because I believe in creating as small a file as I can for the Internet and to focus its set up for SoL.

.............................

Using Markdown text would not give me any help in creating the three main formats I want, and it would cause a lot of extra work to set and them clean up to provide the two main formats I want - the PDF and the e-pub.

Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

1960 to 1980


Quaint. But that's waaaaay older than I'm talking. My parents hadn't even met each other then, much less gotten married, much less had kids.

All I know is that for time immemorial online, in plaintext situations, I've seen the various markup used by Gruber when making Markdown to do the sorts of things they do in Markdown. That was, in fact, one of the core design philosophies: to use what people were already doing. Markdown just made it much easier to write in plaintext and convert it to pretty stuff (especially with it using the right characters for things like quotes and dashes) than it had been before.

Which is now why tons of websites (Gtihub, Stack Overflow, Reddit, etc.) use it in their commenting system.

(Frankly, I am dismayed and baffled that it's not used on here. It would be far easier to type than the HTML we have)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

with only nine mouse clicks


I haven't clicked a mouse in years. I'm on a phone most of the time, and when I'm not, I use the keyboard almost always, or reluctantly a trackpad.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

Frankly, I am dismayed and baffled that it's not used on here. It would be far easier to type than the HTML we have


Because all of the browser s easily display HTML and it's easy to convert anything else into HTML. Most of the Internet is in HTML as well. For the needs here HTML works well and does the best job.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages


I haven't clicked a mouse in years. I'm on a phone most of the time, and when I'm not, I use the keyboard almost always, or reluctantly a trackpad.


Ahh, that explains why you want to type everything is, you wish to move everyone over to a lower quality technology designed only for display with limited input instead of high input capabilities of regular computer systems.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Capt. Zapp

@Geek of Ages

This is just bizarre to me. I've been taking typing classes since I was pretty much old enough to read.


Typing was an elective at my school back in the 70s.

As I said before, to get bold with a typewriter, you backspaced and typed the same letters again. Since the key did not strike exactly the same place, the margin of error caused the letters to look bold.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

If that were actually the case, then you wouldn't see the absolute proliferation of BBCode and Markdown on forums etc.

There's a reason things are moving to Markdown: it's much, much easier to type and understand.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

high input capabilities of regular computer systems


Using a keyboard is the highest input capability of a computer system, hands down. In vim, without ever touching a trackpad, I can write far more code faster than in any GUI editor. The amount of time it takes to take my hand off the keyboard, over to the track pad, and move the cursor to click on options is ridiculously long compared to when I just use the keyboard. Even in GUI apps, I relentlessly use keyboard shortcuts and am far more productive for it.

My use of a phone for things such as this is borne out of the fact that it's always with me, and always has access to the Internet, and is the primary device by which I arrange my social life. On most days, I only get about an hour with my laptop to do personal things; I have my phone with me all day. (I use my computer at work for work, not piddling around on sex story website forums or writing my fiction)

((Also, phones are the most "regular" and most common computing devices these days. So...))

Geek of Ages

@Capt. Zapp

typewriter


I think the only time I've ever touched a typewriter was in a museum somewhere along the line. As far as I'm concerned, CRT monitors have always been horrifically outdated, and everyone has always had an email address.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

If that were actually the case, then you wouldn't see the absolute proliferation of BBCode and Markdown on forums etc.


Forums are a totally different type of usage to a normal HTML page or a book page. You use the type of code for the intended usage, which is a major point I've been making all along because Markdown does NOT fit my usage, neither does SQL or Fortran or Cobol or dBase IV or BASIC - all of which I've used in the past for the appropriate situation.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

My use of a phone for things such as this is borne out of the fact that it's always with me,


Due to my mobility restrictions I spend most of my life at my desk with my keyboard and 28 inch 4K monitors in front of me. To me a phone is a device for voice communications.

BTW There are way more embedded micro computers in use each day than there are phones. They're in every electronic device in use now.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Geek of Ages


In vim, without ever touching a trackpad, I can write far more code faster than in any GUI editor.


Good for you. I have short stubby fingers and while I can type basic text okay, I can't make the reaches for a lot of hot key combinations without taking my hands off the home row of the keyboard anyway, so over all I wouldn't much if any faster using only keyboard controls vs using a mouse.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

Drat.

Thanks for your help,

AJ

Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

The context was these forums, compared to other ones.

Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

a phone is a device for voice communications


The last time I used a phone for a voice conversation (that wasn't spam) was...

Uh...

Over a year ago?

I honestly don't remember.

The idea of using this device for voice chat is extremely weird. If I want to communicate, I use text (through either texting or Facebook messenger or Signal).

At work I have a 4K screen. It's nice. But it still use the keyboard most of the time.

Geek of Ages
Updated:

@Dominions Son


hot key combinations


One of the very nice things about vim is that there aren't hot key combinations—you can do everything from the home row, especially if you map something more reachable into Escape. I do Caps Lock, but I've seen people do jj or aa or ;; for it. And remember, in vim, if you move your hand to use the arrow keys, you're Doing It Wrong. Use hjkl for that!

(This is why vim is so powerful and fast to use, once you're past the learning curve: you don't even take your hands off the home row. I mean, beyond the fact that your hands shouldn't be glued there anyway; your hands _can_ move around, y'know, so long as home row is home base and neutral position)

Replies:   Dominions Son
Geek of Ages

Like I said, if you don't want to use Markdown because you've got your system, I really don't care one way or the other. You do you.

But don't say "Markdown can't do what I need" because it absolutely can; you're just unwilling to put in the time or effort to learn how, or to get the process set up to match what you currently are used to. There's a difference there that I think is important.

Dominions Son

@Geek of Ages

And remember, in vim, if you move your hand to use the arrow keys, you're Doing It Wrong. Use hjkl for that!


How the fuck is that supposed to work in a text editor? What if I need to type one of those characters?

Replies:   Geek of Ages
JohnBobMead

@Geek of Ages

I think the only time I've ever touched a typewriter was in a museum somewhere along the line. As far as I'm concerned, CRT monitors have always been horrifically outdated, and everyone has always had an email address.


Hooboy, you are young!

I still own a partial box of Hollerith cards, from back when I was a computer science major 1980-82.

My first exposure to computers was when my father was Systems Analyst for the City of Salem, Oregon, ~1969; a 12Kb card reading mainframe, which actually loaded the program from cards, rather than by moving wires or some such thing. It, and all of its perepherals, filled the basement of City Hall.

Dad made sure I took a typeing class in High School; it was the first time I used an electric typewriter.

Nowadays, typewriters are used as musical instruments (search YouTube for Wintergatan, they use a manual typewriter as a percussion instrument in some of their sets!)

awnlee jawking

@JohnBobMead

In one of the Star Trek movies, which involved time travel, Scottie (I believe) tried to operate a computer with voice instructions. When that didn't work, he set to work on the keyboard. I know it was just random clacking noises, but I believe the audience were supposed to believe Scottie was touch-typing.

So even in the future, when computers were voice activated, people learned to touch-type ;)

AJ

Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

but I believe the audience were supposed to believe Scottie was touch-typing.


No, he was very clearly and obviously typing with a hunt and peck method.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
PotomacBob

@awnlee jawking

So even in the future, when computers were voice activated, people learned to touch-type ;)


Wasn't that scene in present-day Earth while the crew of the Enterprise were from the future?

Geek of Ages

@Dominions Son

How the fuck is that supposed to work in a text editor? What if I need to type one of those characters?


Vim has two modes: command mode and input mode. While in command mode, the various characters allow you to quickly navigate and issue other commands to the editor (including ones that bring you into insert mode). Pressing escape in insert mode brings you back to command mode.

In command mode, hjkl are the keys to navigate like arrow keys.

While it sounds weird (and doesn't work like any other editor), once you're used to it, it allows you to work on stuff super fast, because you can keep your hands on the home row all the time.

It does have a steep learning curve, as a result.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Geek of Ages

@JohnBobMead

Hooboy, you are young!


More properly, y'all are _old_.

awnlee jawking

@PotomacBob

I can't remember how the timeline was presented, but much of the scene now looks dated so is probably best thought of as the recent past.

AJ

Capt. Zapp

@Geek of Ages

In command mode, hjkl are the keys to navigate like arrow keys.


Those are the same keys some old (pre-PC) computer games used to control direction if you didn't have a joystick/control pad.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Capt. Zapp

@awnlee jawking

In one of the Star Trek movies, which involved time travel, Scottie (I believe) tried to operate a computer with voice instructions.


Star Trek V: The Voyage Home. Scotty first tried just talking to the computer, then McCoy handed him the mouse which Scotty tried to use as a microphone. The man in charge of the plant then told him to 'just use the keyboard" to which Scotty replied "Keyboard. how quaint". Scotty then started to hunt-and-peck before speeding up, inputting the formula for 'transparent aluminum'. It was pretty obvious to the viewers that he was NOT typing.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
JohnBobMead

@PotomacBob

Star Trek IV: Save the Whales [erm, I mean, The Voyage Home...]

Yes, where Scotty is giving the guy the specs for Transparent Aluminum. And, of course, it turns out the guy is the one who developed Transparent Aluminum in the first place, so the time loop is built into the space/time continuum.

Like, sure, someone from several hundred years in the future is going to be able to run one of our specialized programs with no prior exposure such that he can provide those specs in nothing flat. Yeah, right. Pull the other leg, that one's got bells on it.

JohnBobMead

@Capt. Zapp

Star Trek V is The Final Frontier.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Capt. Zapp

@JohnBobMead

Star Trek V is The Final Frontier.


I stand corrected.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
JohnBobMead

@Capt. Zapp

Clearly, it couldn't have been an odd-numbered Star Trek movie, it was one of the better ones, after all! ;)

Plus, I did check Wikipedia to get the proper name of the movie, not trusting my far too fallible memory.

Geek of Ages

@Capt. Zapp

Those are the same keys some old (pre-PC) computer games used to control direction if you didn't have a joystick/control pad.


Makes sense to me. Apparently super old keyboards were printed with the arrow icons on those keys. They're now pretty standard navigation keys in various UIs, if generally relatively unknown because people either use a pointer device or arrow keys.

awnlee jawking
Updated:

@Dominions Son

When learning he had to use a keyboard, Scottie clasped his hands together and cracked all his fingers. James Doohan may have been using hunt and peck, but Scottie was touch-typing (or so the audience was meant to believe).

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

Yes you can. I do it all the time.

It's not a part of the markdown commands. There may be workarounds, but without the ability to define styles, it doesn't offer much.

As far as WYSIWYG editors saving to Markdown, that's simply saving as text, and then doing a global search and replace. Since I don't subscribe to M$ Office, I'm not counting on them to add the functionality. That said, there's probably an add-on which offers the functionality, not just for WORD, but also for Open Office and Libre Office. After all, most editors who didn't grow up using Office have mostly gravitated to Markdown. While no one is rewriting or creating new WYSIWYG editors!

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I think your first sentence is true. However, using the red and blue text the way I do makes it look nicer in the e-pub readers that allow colour and in the html version.

My issue with color text, is from working with the blind and visually handicapped. While not a large percentage of people, your colored text may very well be invisible to certain individuals. If I was you, just for those few who need it, I'd code the color titles with 'alt=""' tags, so text readers will detect it (though, if someone is using a text reader, they really don't care about the color of the text anyway).

Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

This is the sort of thing you would use CSS for. In the Markdown, you provide the title/header structure, and indicate the notes, and then in the CSS you specify what those things should actually be rendered as. That's the whole point of the HTML/CSS dichotomy: in one you can focus on content and structure, in the other you can focus on what it looks like for various display types.

The whole point of Style definitions in WYSIWIG editors, is that it translates directly into CSS style definitions for direct inclusion into epubs and websites. Markup, not so much. You still need to manually convert it at some point.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I use the CSS to identify in the html files where I use the colour and where I centre a paragraph, that's all. That's why it's so short.

I'm a bit more adventurous with my CSS. Here's some paragraph style CSS defs I use for my stories:

p, p.MsoNormal
{
text-indent: 1.5em;
margin-right: 2.0em;
margin-left: 2.0em;
text-align:justify;
}
p.Indent
{
text-indent: 1.5em;
margin-right: 4.0em;
margin-left: 4.0em;
text-align:justify;
line-height:115%;
}
h1
{
font-size: 3.5em;
page-break-before:always;
text-align:center;
font-weight: bold;
margin-top:2em;
margin-bottom:0em;
}

Crumbly Writer

@Capt. Zapp

I agree, but since there are options to 'save as' HTML, PDF, or plain text, I think it would me nice to be able to save as markdown as well.

I think we can all agree on that. However, many are us are not ready to jump on the markdown boat in regards to publishing yet.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I have a preset story format layout in Libre office with the Heading and paragraph styles I use. Thus when i write a story I simply type in the words, click on the style to use if it is not the default paragraph style or text.

The same with me. For each new book, I simply copy the old files, add the new text a chapter at a time, but while typing the story, I can simply specify which paragraph types i want (select from a pulldown or a tab).

But really, HTF (How the Fuck) does any of this help a new author locate and work with editors? If we want to argue about this crap, it really needs to be in a separate thread, as no one will know to look this deep in a completely different thread topic.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

I think the only time I've ever touched a typewriter was in a museum somewhere along the line. As far as I'm concerned, CRT monitors have always been horrifically outdated, and everyone has always had an email address.

I used an electric typewriter in high school and college (though I used my colleges 'brand new' PDP-11 system to generate badly formatted term papers). I was trained using the old-fashioned manual (non-electric) typewriters. When I started working (after college) we were using HUMONGOUS keyboards which only produced punch tape, which was read into the computer, so yeah, all formatting was done using text code. But, computer formatting was essentially invented by Steve Jobs in the first MAC model when he introduced loadable fonts. Things have never been the same after that. Turning back to text once again seems like we're moving in the wrong direction.

I understand that NO ONE wants to learn WORD from scratch anymore, and I'd like to retire extensive word processes entirely, but Markdown was designed by designers too lazy to code, making brain-dead text look attractive.

StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

I used an electric typewriter in high school and college (though I used my colleges 'brand new' PDP-11 system to generate badly formatted term papers). I was trained using the old-fashioned manual (non-electric) typewriters.


I suspect we are 'of an age'. Punch cards for programming on the PDP-11/40 and 11/70, with reel to reel tape for actual storage of your own programs and batch processing.

My high school graduation gift (in 1979) was a Smith Corona electric with the removable cartridges so you didn't have to use FUJ anymore. (Fuck Up Juice - aka White Out)

Replies:   JohnBobMead
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

But really, HTF (How the Fuck) does any of this help a new author locate and work with editors? If we want to argue about this crap, it really needs to be in a separate thread, as no one will know to look this deep in a completely different thread topic.


I agree, but it's the usual thread drift we get, especially after the question has been dealt; but it does keep it at the top of the list.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
JohnBobMead

@StarFleet Carl

1979


Same year I graduated from High School.

Ernest Bywater

@JohnBobMead

1979

Same year I graduated from High School.


spring chicken - I started full time work in Dec 1970 a few weeks after my last high school exams.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

spring chicken - I started full time work in Dec 1970 a few weeks after my last high school exams

baby! - first official job started in July 1961 (had to leave school a few weeks early) though I had been doing a bit of teaching as far back as 1958.

As for StarFleetCarl's graduation gift, obviously you were in the wrong country. A certain Italian manufacturer used to give manual portable typewriters to those starting university, evidently as a marketing tool for the future.

Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

It's not a part of the markdown commands. There may be workarounds, but without the ability to define styles


Markdown doesn't have "commands". It is a markup language.

And it's not a workaround; it's a component part of the spec.

Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

While no one is rewriting or creating new WYSIWYG editors!


This is outright false.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

Markup, not so much. You still need to manually convert it at some point.


Kinda? The idea behind markup in general is that you can focus on the content and structure of your document, using that markup to indicate structure; and then, when it comes time to do the pretty version, you use a style sheet to tell the renderer how to actually display the structure.

Graphical editors hide this dichotomy, and theoretically manage it when exporting. On the other hand, I've seen the CSS that Word outputs, and it's a bloody mess.

It's not really a manual conversion when not in a graphical editor; it's that you get to focus on each half separately, instead of having it all munged together.

Geek of Ages
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


but Markdown was designed by designers too lazy to code


Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

No.

Like, wow, that statement is so very wrong I can't stop laughing.

The original Markdown spec was written by John Gruber, who released it with a perl script that would do the Markdown to HTML conversion (in 2004 as I recall).

It was primarily originally picked up by programmers, who took it and ran with it to create the set of dialects we have now (Multimarkdown, Github-flavored, that one that Jeff Atwood keeps banging on about, etc). By, you know, _writing code_.

So, yeah...I'm pretty sure you have no idea what you're talking about.

Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

the usual thread drift


By my estimation, none of y'all old people come here to actually answer questions or help people. Instead, y'all just want to argue.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Geek of Ages

y'all just want to argue.

They call it a forum because so many people are against um.

Crumbly Writer

@JohnBobMead

Same year I graduated from High School.

The year before I graduated college, so we're all (nearly) in the same (chronological) class.

Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

This is outright false.

Sorry, I didn't mean WYSIWYG, since most Markdown programs are WYSWYG themselves, it was directed at the word processing tools (i.e. no one is bothering to build a better version of WORD, or at least, a simpler, less cumbersome version of it).

Capt. Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

no one is bothering to build a better version of WORD, or at least, a simpler, less cumbersome version of it


Seems to me that M$ is doing just the opposite.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

no one is bothering to build a better version of WORD


1. Because only one company has the legal right to do so. And they would rather keep making it more complex and cumbersome.

If you want simpler and less cumbersome, try looking into some of the open source word processors out there.

Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

no one is bothering to build a better version of WORD, or at least, a simpler, less cumbersome version of it


Are...are you really unaware of Google Docs, Apple Pages, Zoho Docs, AbiWord, Scribus, Lotus Symphony...? (Somewhere along the line, I could google "alternatives to word" and undoubtedly find more)

(That said, Word is hands-down the best WYSIWYG document editor out there, hands down. Nothing else even comes close.)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

most Markdown programs are WYSWYG themselves


Given that Markdown is plaintext, and everyone and their sister has written a simple text editor at some point when learning to program, I'm gonna call this one blatantly false, also.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

(That said, Word is hands-down the best WYSIWYG document editor out there, hands down. Nothing else even comes close.)


Which version? There are several versions of MS Word and they aren't all fully compatible with each other.

Add in MS Word is going the cloud rental route, and you can easily understand why many people are moving away from it because cloud access isn't always there. Plus cloud systems cost more in most countries.

Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

All of them since Word 98 or so, relative to the other offerings in the marketplace at that time. The current Word version is _amazingly_ good.

I'm well aware that the subscription costs (I'm pretty sure you don't have to bother with the cloud portion, given that I throughly ignore it) are a reason some people are looking for other things. That's rather irrelevant to whether or not Word is the best on the market. A Tesla is the best car, but a lot of people don't own one for a myriad of reasons.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

All of them since Word 98 or so, relative to the other offerings in the marketplace at that time. The current Word version is _amazingly_ good.


There have been four not fully compatible versions of MS Word since Word 98. If you want a touchscreen operated system then MS Word and its Ribbon are good, but if you don't want a system designed for smaller touch screens, then there are plenty that are better then MS Word.

Many people like MS Word simply because it's what they're familiar with, thus they think it's better.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

there are plenty that are better then MS Word


I've yet to use one, and I've used quite a few of the competitors. Pages is the only one that comes remotely close, and it still can't match Word's sheer capability and versatility.

That said, a lot of them are good enough for some people, and if that's the case, cool, whatevs. You do you. Just like I sometimes eat Hershey's chocolate because it's good enough, even though Godiva is better.

I do also find the claims about supposed incapatibity suspect. I have .doc files from my middle school days still around that I can open now with no problems.

Dominions Son

@Geek of Ages

I've yet to use one


Have you tried Open Office or Libre Office?

I do also find the claims about supposed incapatibity suspect. I have .doc files from my middle school days still around that I can open now with no problems.


That only goes one way. Try to open a document created using the default settings in a newer version of Word with and older version and it won't work nearly so well.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

I've yet to use one


Libre Office 3 and Open Office 3 worked the same as the pre-ribbon MS Word with the only differences being the margins / gutter settings and the compatibility is better in OO and LO.

I do also find the claims about supposed incapatibity suspect.


I've files saved in every version from MS Word for DOS 1 through to MS Word 2007 and if you have a file that was saved in the version immediately prior it will open OK, but go back two or three versions and the format commands are different so they will either be scrambled or not open. Interestingly they all open OK in OO and LO, but to open them in a readable manner in MS Word you need to get extra plug-in software, they won't work natively. I found this out the hard way when tried to open some files from MS Word for Windows 2a in MS Word 98 scrambled the files - luckily I had back-up copies because they were legal records.

I don't know what the latest version of MS Word says about saving as earlier versions, but they used to have a list for MS Word 97 to 2003, MS Word 2003, MS Word 2007, and I know MS Word 2010 to 2013 are different again. When I asked MS about trying to save as a version prior to Word 97 they said they didn't support that and didn't support anything other than the latest 2 versions of Word.

Geek of Ages

@Dominions Son

Have you tried Open Office or Libre Office?


Yes, multiple times over the past decade or so, and they're both terrible. They crash frequently, drain battery life, and can't do the things Word can do.

Geek of Ages

@Dominions Son

Try to open a document created using the default settings in a newer version of Word with and older version


...why would I use an older version of Word when I already have a newer version? That's just silly.

(Though file format changes are a perennial argument for why plaintext formats are superior to proprietary binary formats in the general case)

Replies:   Dominions Son
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

Libre Office 3 and Open Office 3 worked the same as the pre-ribbon MS Word with the only differences being the margins / gutter settings and the compatibility is better in OO and LO.


And that they crashed all the time, chewed up computer resources, drained batteries, and couldn't actually do the things I wanted to do with the document in terms of formatting and layout.

You have an odd definition of "same"

Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

go back two or three versions


Why would you ever do this?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Geek of Ages

I will also say again, all this kvetching about Word and random problems because of using outdated software makes me quite content to sit in my Markdown world these days (for fiction-writing, at least)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Geek of Ages

...why would I use an older version of Word when I already have a newer version? That's just silly.


What if you are trying to send a document to someone else who doesn't have the latest version, but you don't know what version they have?

Dominions Son

@Geek of Ages

Yes, multiple times over the past decade or so, and they're both terrible. They crash frequently, drain battery life, and can't do the things Word can do.


I can't speak to battery life, but I've been using OO for years on a desktop PC, it almost never crashes, certainly no more often then Word does (and yes, word will crash occasionally).

Also, I have yet to find anything at all that Word can do that OO can't.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Add in MS Word is going the cloud rental route


I didn't buy the rental version of Word on my Mac. I bought it outright — one time charge. They said I wouldn't get updates, but I do.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

Have you tried Open Office or Libre Office?


I tried both. Went back to Word.

Try to open a document created using the default settings in a newer version of Word with and older version and it won't work nearly so well.


Save it as doc rather than the default docx.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

Yes, multiple times over the past decade or so, and they're both terrible. They crash frequently, drain battery life, and can't do the things Word can do.


You must have a weird computer or using a small mobile device, because my experience has been exactly the opposite, and I never had a system crash due to OO or LO, but often had that happen with MS Word due to it not telling MS Windows to clear the memory it used when shutting down.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

Why would you ever do this?


Because you have files saved in an older version you wish to read several years later. Can't do it with MS Word, but you can with OO and LO.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

sit in my Markdown world these days (for fiction-writing, at least)


Go ahead, we aren't stopping you, just don't tell us that plain text systems for on-line only is good for making print ready documents for printing, the way you have been.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Zom

@Dominions Son

Try to open a document created using the default settings in a newer version of Word with and older version and it won't work nearly so well.

Did I read that correctly? Are you suggesting forward compatibility is a thing? I don't think anybody's crystal ball has ever worked that well.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Zom

Did I read that correctly? Are you suggesting forward compatibility is a thing? I don't think anybody's crystal ball has ever worked that well.


I agree he may have not stated that too well. However, if you code the software properly according to the Industry Standards the way OO and LO are I can use the current version of LO 6.0.1.1 to save a file as .odt and it will open correctly in LO 3 (its first version to align with OO 3) because the format code is the same through all of the versions, the same applies to OO. Sadly, you can't say that for MS Word because each variants uses a different set of proprietary format codes that are different to the others.

Zom

@Ernest Bywater

if you code the software properly according to the Industry Standards

I don't think coding is the issue though.

MS Word is an outlier, because it has sometimes even sucked at simple backwards compatibility.

The problem with all applications is when they have novel functionality added that simply wasn't on the radar when the earlier version was developed.
Regardless of the sophistication of the coding, the older application is just going to do a shoulder shrug in those circumstances.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

You must have a weird computer


This experience has been across something like a half-dozen computers, and on all of them, OO was much slower than Word and harder to use and more prone to crashing.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

just don't tell us that plain text systems for on-line only is good for making print ready documents for printing, the way you have been.


One: Markdown isn't for "online only". The suggestion is absurd.

Two, if we're going to talk about the merits of plaintext systems, then we also need to talk about LaTeX. You know, that plaintext system that has been used to make print-ready documents for _thirty years_ and is still one of the major standards for academic publishing, because it handles math and science so well. If you pull any random math or science paper published in the last decade, I almost guarantee that it was written in LaTeX for publishing. (Or, realistically, some other dialect of TeX, but the point still stands). And LaTeX is a plaintext format.

Three, Markdown is also good for making print-ready documents. I have been doing it for several years now. Stop claiming it's not capable when you don't actually know.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

code the software properly according to the Industry Standards


Hi, I'm in the industry. It's what I do for a living.

What the fuck are you even talking about?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

each variants uses a different set of proprietary format codes that are different to the others


I'm pretty sure that's not true. There might be new things added, creating a superset, but they're not going to outright rewrite the document structure each major version. That's ridiculous.

There have two major breaks in the format; the first was in the late 90s and they kept .doc as the extension for each, and it fucked a bunch of stuff up. The other was when they moved to the .docx and chose a new extension to avoid most of the previous problems. In both cases, the change was made because of the changing computing environment (.docx in particular; it optimized for different things than the original .doc).

I mean, how dare they include features their customers asked for and then request they get paid for their labor!

paliden

@Dominions Son

That only goes one way. Try to open a document created using the default settings in a newer version of Word with and older version and it won't work nearly so well.


This MAY help.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=3

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

if you code the software properly according to the Industry Standards the way OO and LO are


Browsers coded to the industry standards for HTML and then the standards changed. So some things used in the latest HTML/CSS will not work with old browsers.

It's too expensive to support all old versions. It also makes the software slower.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Centaur
Ernest Bywater

@Zom

The problem with all applications is when they have novel functionality added that simply wasn't on the radar when the earlier version was developed.


True, but the code for the other functions should stay the same. Also, when there's an industry standard that says this is how you have it format or display then staying with that standard has compatibility for that.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

This experience has been across something like a half-dozen computers, and on all of them, OO was much slower than Word and harder to use and more prone to crashing.


Over the years I've used hundreds of computers and I've never had one crash using OO or LO, but have had several crash due to out of memory when using MS Word, especially on Windows NT.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

What the fuck are you even talking about?


For the industry standards set by the international industry committees that have been in existence for many decades that grew out of the old CCITT committees. The International Standards Association (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are a part of them. Much of what they set were hardware standards, bhut they also set software standards too.

The Open Document Architecture was set by the ITU and ISO back in 1989 after an initial set of documents were approved in 1987. Due to lack of support and back pressure from Microsoft it took another decade to get a lot of support in the USA.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

I mean, how dare they include features their customers asked for and then request they get paid for their labor!


Don't know why you added that, because I never said they shouldn't get paid if people want to pay them. But while you're on it, what I object to is them deliberately making them non-compatible and forcing changes by removing prior features.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

I'm pretty sure that's not true. There might be new things added, creating a superset, but they're not going to outright rewrite the document structure each major version. That's ridiculous.


They need only change the name of sub-routines to make them incompatible. However, even Microsoft say they have four different versions of the .doc format that are incompatible, and two for the .docx format.

1. Word for DOS
2. Word for Windows 1 & 2.
3. Word 6 and Word 95.
4. Word 97 and later.
5. Word 2003 in the docx format.
6. Word 2007 in the docx format.

MS admits opening a MS Word document in a version of Word other than what it was

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

Browsers coded to the industry standards for HTML and then the standards changed.


We'er discussing the standards for documents where the Industry Standard hasn't changed for a long time. However, the new browsers also display the old code properly so there is backward compatibility in the old files work on the new software, which isn't the case with non-standard code.

Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

Oh! You're complaining that Microsoft decided to create a proprietary document format to meet the needs of their customers, rather than rely on an undecided open standard (such as the one OO and LO use, which was first published in 2001 as far as I can tell) that wasn't capable of meeting the market need!

I think "does not use an open format" is a reasonable critique of software, though good luck changing that being a thing.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Centaur
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Geek of Ages


Oh! You're complaining that Microsoft decided to create a proprietary document format to meet the needs of their customers,


No, my complaint is once they refused to use the Industry Standard format they kept changing their proprietary format without providing any compatibility while using the same file extension. This is not the only Industry Standard MS have ignored as part of their strategy to lock people into using their software, but it is the most obvious one.

And I see the goal posts are on the move again.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

the name of sub-routines


Huh? Why would the names used in the code affect how the document is parsed?

Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

new browsers also display the old code properly


That's not strictly true in terms of HTML/CSS, depending on a host of factors.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Zom
Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

Why would the names used in the code affect how the document is parsed?


because if the instruction says to look for and use routine Alpha 2 and the routine is Beta 3 it won't use it. Duh, that's basic coding 101.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Geek of Ages


That's not strictly true in terms of HTML/CSS, depending on a host of factors.


All of the HTML 5 browsers I've used or seen used accurately display html files written for HTML 1, HTML 2, HTML 3, and HTML 4 - except the blink code which was never part of the HTML standard.

Mind you, I'm talking of the HTML code, not the stuff people have written in other languages like JavaScript etc - I'm not familiar with them.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

they kept changing their proprietary format without providing any compatibility while using the same file extension


So...it sounds like you don't actually want them to continue meeting the needs of their customers, or you want them to waste time and energy backporting features to old versions.

This is verging very much into "old man yells at cloud" territory.

Anyways, you know what's cool about Markdown? That anyone with a plaintext editor can read/write it, regardless of when the editor was written.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

if the instruction says to look for and use routine Alpha 2 and the routine is Beta 3 it won't use it.


That's not how document parsers are written?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

All of the HTML 5 browsers I've used or seen used accurately display html files written for HTML 1, HTML 2, HTML 3, and HTML 4 -


That's a neat trick, given that browsers of the day couldn't even decide on the "accurate" way of displaying things. And yes, I'm talking about just at the HTML/CSS level. I had lots of fun dealing with that back in the day (and browser differences is one of thereasons I left web dev)

Dominions Son

@Geek of Ages

Huh? Why would the names used in the code affect how the document is parsed?


I've heard claims that the MS binary document formats are just a core dump of the application.

I'm skeptical, but it would explain why the format seems to change at almost ever version.

Replies:   Geek of Ages  Zom
Geek of Ages

@Dominions Son

I'm also skeptical, though I'm not as familiar with the .doc formats, which may very well have been compressed dumps of the document in memory to disk.

But .docx is just a zipped collection of XML and other files, and theoretically has an open standard that it follows (largely dictating the structure of the XML as I recall when I skimmed the standard when it came out a decade ago). I had fun once unzipping one and poking around all the XML.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

standards for documents


If there was a true standard, there'd be one file format like txt. But each word processor has their own.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Zom
Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

So...it sounds like you don't actually want them to continue meeting the needs of their customers, or you want them to waste time and energy backporting features to old versions.


I see you're trying to change what I'm saying. I never said anything about them backporting features or not providing what customers want. All I ever said was that they had issues due to them ignoring the the Industry Standards that were around decades ago and then not only going off on a tangent, but they frequently changed the code for new programs that could have been carried over, but was changed just to make it not compatible.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

That's not how document parsers are written?


It is what you do when you write code for a process to do something within the software. If the code for the routine for the format instructions have a different name then the saved file that has it filed under one name won't have it called when the new software is looking for a different name. I simple to understand, so you should understand it.

Replies:   Geek of Ages  Zom
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

If there was a true standard, there'd be one file format like txt. But each word processor has their own.


There is a standard and it has been around for decades, check the ISO lists. However, while some programmers follow the standard other have ignored it - Microsoft is one that ignored it. Check ISO 8613.

Replies:   Zom
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

If the code for the routine for the format instructions have a different name then the saved file that has it filed under one name won't have it called when the new software is looking for a different name


Uh, sure, okay. But documents don't specify what methods are called for their parsing? Again, as someone who has _worked on document parsers_ I have no idea what relevance any of the names in the code have on being able to parse documents.

Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

not providing what customers want. All I ever said was that they had issues due to them ignoring the the Industry Standards


Because the half-baked standards didn't provide what customers wanted.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Centaur
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

they frequently changed the code for new programs that could have been carried over, but was changed just to make it not compatible.


This is a collection of words that looks like it should make sense, but doesn't. Changing code in a program doesn't make its save files suddenly not readable or something. That's not how code works.

Replies:   JohnBobMead  Centaur
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Geek of Ages


Because the half-baked standards didn't provide what customers wanted.


Since the proprietary code of the MS Word code did the same things as the Industry Standards but using different identifiers and formats it would be more accurate to say what MS did was half-baked.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

what MS did was half backed.


No, I'm pretty sure Office had the full backing from Microsoft.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

since MS always had two teams working on alternate versions, they were only every half backed half-baked software.

JohnBobMead

@Geek of Ages

Changing code in a program doesn't make its save files suddenly not readable or something. That's not how code works.


Excuse me?

It's the code in the program that defines how the file is saved.

Change the section of code that defines the encoding of the save file, and it may not be compatible with previous versions of the save file if the extension remains the same while the encoding has changed.

The decoding routine will look for certain tags to interpret the formating of the document, and they might not be the same; if the tags used have changed, or tags have been redefined, files saved using the previous definitions will be garbled to at least an extent when opened using the new definitions. And vice versa.

Intuit tends to change how data files are formatted each time they release a new version of Quicken. Intuit builds into each new release the code required to recognize data files from previous versions, and has routines which input the old data files and converts them to the new format. They tell you right up front that the new data files can't be used with the previous software, and that you can't save to a previous definition. So you don't upgrade their software unless you can afford to do it on all machines where you have it installed at the same time. And, Intuit tends to change the extensions used for their data files when they make these changes.

For a very long time, Microsoft didn't change their extension labels, while they did change how those files were encoded. So someone hands you a disk with a .doc file, you have Word installed, you figure you can open it. Well, maybe not, depending upon which version of Word was used to create the .doc file. And it's not just not being able to read a .doc file from a newer version of Word, you might not be able to open a .doc file from an older version of Word.

The same apparently holds true for .docx.

Microsoft keeps changing the internal labels, not just adding new ones, but changing the definitions of old ones.

I used WordPerfect for a very long time. When Corel changed the definitions by which they encoded their save files, they changed the extensions. You could tell, by looking at the extension, which versions of WordPerfect would be able to open it. And, in general, newer versions of WordPerfect could open files saved using previous versions without any changes to their formatting; when you then saved them, you had options concerning which format you saved the file as, so you could work with people from other firms who had different versions of WordPerfect installed.

You can't do that with Microsoft's save files. They change the encoding without changing the extensions. So you have to indicate in the file name, or on the disk, which version of Office you are using.

And Microsoft knows this. For a long time, you had the option of saving a .doc file as one of several types of encoding: Word95, Word97, etc., all with the exact same extension. They built this ability into Word, so they knew damn well that they changed the definitions for the encoding in a manner that made them incompatible with earlier versions of Word without changing the extension.

Replies:   Geek of Ages  Geek of Ages  Zom
Geek of Ages

@JohnBobMead

It's the code in the program that defines how the file is saved.


Yes, but generally only a small portion. Most of the code is doing something useful with that data; if you change that code, it has no effect on save files, particularly.

Also, you can change code without changing its functionality (such as when you're refactoring).

So just because you make changes to a code base does not automatically mean that old saved files are no longer compatible or something like that. That's all I was saying.

Geek of Ages

@JohnBobMead

they knew damn well that they changed the definitions for the encoding in a manner that made them incompatible with earlier versions of Word without changing the extension


One of the reasons given by the Office team as to why they moved to .docx (etc) with Office 2007 was that they knew changing the format without changing the extension in the past caused a lot of pain that they tried to avoid.

The 2007–2010 difference in .docx is mostly driven by a change in the spec, where it wasn't fully fleshed out in 2007 but was in time for 2010. To the best of my knowledge, aside from not having forward compatibility (and not backporting features), it's compatible up and down the line from then, and there are no plans to change it anytime soon.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Geek of Ages


But .docx is just a zipped collection of XML and other files


Correct, it's compressed plain text like ODF, not a straight binary format like the older .doc

and theoretically has an open standard


Not exactly. While Microsoft went and pushed a standard through the ISO, because there was a push by government agencies to insist on official open standard formats for documents, they refused to guarantee that there wouldn't be any proprietary, non-public extensions in their implementation of the standard.

In fact, the published standard has explicit place holders for proprietary MS structures that were never included in the actual standard.

Replies:   Zom  Geek of Ages
Zom

@Geek of Ages

That's not strictly true in terms of HTML/CSS

It's certainly not true. I struggle all the time making HTML/CSS/JS behave as required in newer browser versions whilst making it still work as intended in older versions. The code becomes a rabbit warren of of conditionals. I am not in a position to say "just use the latest browser" like lazy coders often do.

Zom
Updated:

@Dominions Son


I'm skeptical


And rightly so. Firmly in the 'wrong' column.

Zom

@Switch Blayde

there'd be one file format like txt

Um - .txt doesn't have a format. It's just text.

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Zom

@Ernest Bywater

I simple to understand, so you should understand it.

It's also not the way it works.

Zom

@Ernest Bywater

Check ISO 8613

ISO 8613 was first released in 1989. MS Word was first released in 1983. Are you suggesting that MS Word should have followed a standard that was not going to exist for another 6 years?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Michael Loucks

@Zom

Um - .txt doesn't have a format. It's just text.


To be pedantic (as is my wont), 'no format' IS a format. :-)

(And that's not even getting into line endings Unix, DOS, Mac) :-)

Replies:   Zom
Zom

@JohnBobMead

made them incompatible with earlier versions of Word without changing the extension.

All files saved with each version of MS Word have identifiers in the header that say what version format the file was saved in.

Until recently MS word was able to adapt quite happily to the saved version so long as it was the same or older that the version being used. For this reason, no change of extension was needed or wanted.

Recently, Word will not open very old format files without some remedial action being taken by the user.

Only once since 1983 have I seen Word get into trouble opening an older version file that wasn't corrupted, and that had to do with embedded drawings.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Zom

@Dominions Son

a straight binary format like the older .doc

Older .doc files are not straight binary. They have a binary header and a binary tail, but the majority of the file is text with perhaps some embedded binary format tags.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Zom

@Michael Loucks

To be pedantic

Hmmm ... and when is a format not a method, I wonder. Would you argue that zero is a counting number? :-)

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Ernest Bywater

@Zom

Zom,

MS word was first released for DOS in 1983, and the first Word for Windows version was developed in 1989 and released in 1990. The Word for Windows was very different to Word for DOS that preceded it, and MS Word has had many changes in the format code since then.

The Open Document Architecture was first raised in 1985 with many people from within the IT industry giants involved with the committees putting the concept together. The intent was a universal storable and interchangeable document structure for any word processor and desktop publisher. The initial version of ISO 8613 was released in Nov 1987 while work continued on some parts as the ISO was to cover all basic document types you now see in an Office Document package. In Feb 1989 the final version of ISO 8613 covering all document types was released with the intent or replacing all proprietary document file formats so the riles would be cross platform compatible and current files would work in future software versions.

The committee working on ISO 8613 kept all of the major industry leaders informed of what they were doing. When the ISO 8613 was released some of the companies like Sun Microsystems embraced it, while others like Microsoft ignored it as part of their way to keep people locked in to their software.

As you can tell from the dates it was possible for Microsoft to write their Word for Windows in line with ISO 8613 due to them being told of the developments as they went and the official release of the majority of the ISO in Nov 1987 and the final release in Feb 1989.

Thus while Word for DOS was prior to ISO 8613 being released the much changed version of MS Word for Windows was after MS new about ISO 8613. Yet, MS chose to ignore the industry standard.

Replies:   Zom
Ernest Bywater

@Zom

Until recently MS word was able to adapt quite happily to the saved version so long as it was the same or older that the version being used.


That has NOT been my experience. I was using MS Word XP back in 2005 and found it always messed up any files that had been saved in versions of MS Word prior to MS Word 98. MS Word 97 files were readable with a lot of the paragraph and page formatting gone, but anything from MS Word 6 or MS Word for Windows 2a wasn't even readable text.

Replies:   Zom
awnlee jawking

@Zom

Then surely a search at operating system level should be able to locate a story written in .doc format based on content, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

AJ

Replies:   Geek of Ages  Zom
Geek of Ages

@Dominions Son

Not exactly


Hence the "theoretically" 😉

Geek of Ages

@awnlee jawking

surely a search at operating system level should be able to locate a story written in .doc format based on content


Keep in mind that the search engine used in Windows and macOS doesn't necessarily actually search the content of every file; it tends to leave binary files alone, for instance.

However, if you had such a file on a macOS or Linux box, I imagine you could grep and find the file. (And I think grep is among the things that's been ported to Windows somewhere along the way)

Replies:   JohnBobMead
JohnBobMead

@Geek of Ages

And I think grep is among the things that's been ported to Windows somewhere along the way


I had to Google grep to find out what you were referring to.

AstroGrep seems to have good reviews, and the most recent release is 2017-05-31, so it is Windows 10 compatible.

I just downloaded it, since it looks like it could be very useful.

PrincelyGuy

While Windows does not have grep, there is the find command that you can run from a DOS/Command window. It is nowhere as powerful as grep, but it works. Most of the time.

FIND [/V] [/C] [/N] [/I] [/OFF[LINE]] "string" [[drive:][path]filename[ ...]]

/V Displays all lines NOT containing the specified string.
/C Displays only the count of lines containing the string.
/N Displays line numbers with the displayed lines.
/I Ignores the case of characters when searching for the string.
/OFF[LINE] Do not skip files with offline attribute set.
"string" Specifies the text string to find.
[drive:][path]filename
Specifies a file or files to search.

Replies:   Zom
Zom

@Ernest Bywater

MS word was first released for DOS in 1983, and the first Word for Windows version was developed in 1989

You didn't differentiate.

Zom

@Ernest Bywater

anything from MS Word 6 or MS Word for Windows 2a wasn't even readable text.

I have many documents in 6.0 and 2007 opens them happily.

Zom

@awnlee jawking

should be able to locate a story written in .doc format based on content

Works for me (mostly). I can search and find in Word 8 and later, but search doesn't seem to penetrate Word 6, even though the content sought is in plain text within the file.

Zom

@PrincelyGuy


FIND [/V] [/C] [/N] [/I] [/OFF[LINE]] "string" [[drive:][path]filename[ ...]]

Shame about the lack of recursion.

I find FINDSTR much more useful:

FINDSTR [/B] [/E] [/L] [/R] [/S] [/I] [/X] [/V] [/N] [/M] [/O] [/P] [/F:file][/C:string] [/G:file] [/D:dir list] [/A:color attributes] [/OFF[LINE]] strings [[drive:][path]filename[ ...]]

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Michael Loucks
Updated:

@Zom


Shame about the lack of recursion.

I find FINDSTR much more useful:

FINDSTR [/B] [/E] [/L] [/R] [/S] [/I] [/X] [/V] [/N] [/M] [/O] [/P] [/F:file][/C:string] [/G:file] [/D:dir list] [/A:color attributes] [/OFF[LINE]] strings [[drive:][path]filename[ ...]]


grep -ri string on my Mac works a treat! :-)

Michael Loucks

@Zom

Hmmm ... and when is a format not a method, I wonder. Would you argue that zero is a counting number? :-)


That all depends! Is your first array element A[0] or A[1] :-)

Replies:   Zom
Centaur

@Ernest Bywater

not to mention a cloud is just another computer storing your stuff, they have failures just like everyone else does.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Centaur

not to mention a cloud is just another computer storing your stuff, they have failures just like everyone else does.


True, the hardware can have issues, but the biggest problem to date has been the company owning the hardware going out of business or changing their business model at short notice meaning many people don't have enough time to get all their data back off the cloud. My biggest issue is non-access when Internet access is out or not good.

Centaur

@Geek of Ages

I mean, how dare they include features their customers asked for and then request they get paid for their labor!


And they stick it to the person that cant send 300+ bucks to upgrade from a prior version.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Centaur

@Switch Blayde

I have to disagree I know several web designers that code for compatibility for as many browsers as possible.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Centaur

@Geek of Ages

You're complaining that Microsoft decided to create a proprietary document format to meet the needs of their customers, rather than rely on an undecided open standard (such as the one OO and LO use, which was first published in 2001 as far as I can tell) that wasn't capable of meeting the market need!


Well if you want to talk proprietary, then look no further then adobe, if you make a document in a newer version you can open it on an older version of acrobat reader.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Centaur

@Geek of Ages

Because the half-baked standards didn't provide what customers wanted.


with out standards there would be chaos, MS is making non-standard software. do they give some customers what they want? yes. do they ailenate the rest of their customers that run a 2003 office and get a docx file from 2010 office? yes a standard needs to be set and followed so every one is happy. i'm sure from the little codding i did years ago. OO and OL have there document instructions at the back end of the file, while MS puts them at the front, so when word what ever get to line X tha should be the start of the document it finds more instrution sets.

Centaur

@Geek of Ages

This is a collection of words that looks like it should make sense, but doesn't. Changing code in a program doesn't make its save files suddenly not readable or something. That's not how code works.


yea it does, and yea it can. code makes the documnet. if the code is changed how is it going to read the document in the new/old code

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Zom

@Michael Loucks


That all depends! Is your first array element A[0] or A[1] :-)

Am I coding in C or Pascal? :-) Whole numbers vs integers again (sigh) ...

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Geek of Ages

@Centaur

And they stick it to the person that cant send 300+ bucks to upgrade from a prior version.


Ah, I see that you dislike capitalism.

Geek of Ages

@Centaur

I know several web designers that code for compatibility for as many browsers as possible.


So do I, and when I've done web dev, so did I. It's hard, and you still don't get them all; you have to pick and choose which ones matter.

Geek of Ages

@Centaur

if you want to talk proprietary, then look no further then adobe


Different market, different customers, different goals. Also, pdf is built on postscript, so...yeah. I really don't know what you're trying to argue here.

Geek of Ages

@Centaur

MS is making non-standard software


On the contrary, Office formats are _the_ standard.

(Also: the nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from)

Geek of Ages

@Centaur

OO and OL have there document instructions at the back end of the file, while MS puts them at the front


That's...not how documents work? Like, what do you even mean by "document instruction"?

Geek of Ages

@Centaur

code makes the documnet. if the code is changed how is it going to read the document in the new/old code


As I already clarified above, it's not an "always" thing. Changing code does not imply changing behavior (this is the _entire point_ of having a test suite: to allow you to refactor without changing behavior).

Michael Loucks

@Zom

Am I coding in C or Pascal? :-) Whole numbers vs integers again (sigh) ...


Call by value or call by reference? :-)

Replies:   Zom  samuelmichaels
Zom

@Michael Loucks

Call by value or call by reference? :-)

Is that a pointer to the problem?

Wolfman

I've been lurking in my own thread following this discussion.
I've been writing in txt and adding in italics / bold and line breaks by hand as I create the file. Out of curiosity I decided to check out Open Office as I'm down with free stuff. Turns out I already have it /facepalm.

Chapter 1 has been released to TheRev after a week of no progress due to a dead keyboard.

awnlee jawking

@Wolfman

Well done. I'm looking forward to reading it.

AJ

Dominions Son

@Wolfman

Chapter 1 has been released to TheRev after a week of no progress due to a dead keyboard.


May it rest in pieces. :)

Replies:   Wolfman
Wolfman

@Dominions Son

I don't get mad, I get even! In my mind anyways.

SO I envision that nasty ol' keyboard laying in the driveway in a melted puddle of slag, rather than in many pieces from a "BFH". Then there's reality. It's sitting here beside me waiting to be thrown away.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Wolfman

rather than in many pieces from a "BFH".

"Beyond the Far Horizon"?

Replies:   Dominions Son  Wolfman
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

"Beyond the Far Horizon"?


Probably Big Fucking Handgun, a variant on BFG (Big Fucking Gun) which was popularized by the DOOM FPS games where the BFG 9000 was the most powerful weapon in the game.

Wolfman

@richardshagrin

Hammer. Big Fucking Hammer.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Wolfman

Big Fucking Hammer


There's one of those in the 'Lady in Red' stories ;)

AJ

PrincelyGuy

I think using an EMFT might be fun. Elon Musk Flame Thrower.

If the keyboard is the old style one and not a USB keyboard, you can try throwing it into the dishwasher. I have been told that it will fix most of them by getting rid of soda, beer, crackers and other, uhm, sticky items out of it.

Replies:   Wolfman
samuelmichaels

@Michael Loucks

Call by value or call by reference? :-)


I am reminded of the old joke that Niklaus Wirth (inventor of Pascal) is called by name by Europeans, but by value by Americans.

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Wolfman
Updated:

@PrincelyGuy

Runny cat vomit?

It is a USB style membrane. 12 whole USD I paid for it.

It was almost a toss up for cleaning or replacing. almost. And the cat sat there just pleased as punch with an innocent look.

Between the vomit and sink water it's definitely dead now.

PrincelyGuy

Well, you got nothing to lose. Go ahead and wash it and then let it air dry for a day or two. At worst, you have a clean dead keyboard. At best, you have one that works.

Wolfman

This happened late last week. It is clean and dead. And I have already received the replacement.

Wolfman
Updated:

Well chapter 1 is up.

I realize this is the wrong place for this but /shrug.

How the hell do I indent a paragraph?

I've used tab in the ver. 1.0 upload.

That came out with no paragraph lead spacing.

I went back into the formatting guide and re-read it.

I picked up some pointers to use and went through my local version.

I changed tabs to 5 spaces and put it the the formatting previewer. There wasn't a change.

&nbsp isn't valid to use unless I upload html then I have to sort out html tagging and it's been years since I've messed with head and meta tags.

I added a couple extra blank lines between paragraphs. The SOL parser removed them as expected but still didn't auto indent the next paragraph.
Edit*
found this buried in some help section

https://storiesonline.net/h/40/hand-crafted-html-files-for-reliable-results

that's next on the list to try.
a

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Wolfman

How the hell do I indent a paragraph?


The paragraph style on the site (following general HTML tradition) is to use spacing to indicate paragraph breaks, instead of indenting. This is also perfectly acceptable typography: https://practicaltypography.com/first-line-indents.html

Now, if you're wanting to indent just a particular paragraph for some reason, that's a different problem.

Replies:   Wolfman
Michael Loucks

@samuelmichaels

I am reminded of the old joke that Niklaus Wirth (inventor of Pascal) is called by name by Europeans, but by value by Americans.


That was exactly the joke I was going for, told by Doctor Charles Bauer at IIT when I attended there in the 80's! :-)

Wolfman
Updated:

@Geek of Ages

huh!

So double spacing between the paragraphs is the new indentation....

I've been out of school too long or something.

I opened the link and saw the usage so I believe you, just commenting, that's not the way it was done back when I ran from dinosaurs on the way to school.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

That only goes one way. Try to open a document created using the default settings in a newer version of Word with and older version and it won't work nearly so well.

Like DS, I've never had an issue opening an older version of a WORD file in a newer version (though I've stopped with 2013). I suspect you're having other issues than any that are the result of WORD's coding.

My main issue with WORD is that it really needs to be completely rewritten from the ground up, with largely the same functionality, to make it efficient enough to compare with the newer alternatives, but M$ is never going to do that. Their last 'revision' just make an already complex and cumbersome and complex system even worse.

It's like Operating Systems, it's been so long since anyone has had any experience writing a NEW OS (or Word Processor) that the expertise just isn't available anymore. Heck, you can still code WORD commands using the old text commands (the .command lines you embed in the text to perform basic formatting like index entries), even though no one uses such functionality any more.

What we're getting now are easy to code versions with little (advanced) functionality, and new writers simply don't grasp most of what they're missing.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I can't speak to battery life, but I've been using OO for years on a desktop PC, it almost never crashes, certainly no more often than Word does (and yes, word will crash occasionally).

Also, I have yet to find anything at all that Word can do that OO can't.

I agree about OO's functionality, even if I find WORD easier to use, especially since I have so many customizations to WORD.

However, my version of WORD on the PC crashes ALL the time! What's more, it's recover process is HORRENDOUS (it keeps trying to 'Repair' files, which invariably corrupts the files so I can't submit them to publishing sites like Smashwords.

The Mac version of WORD has no such problems. It not only crashes less often (although I don't abuse it quite as much by opening a gazillion files), when it does, it pops up multiple versions of the current file and NONE of them are 'Repaired'.

In my opinion, the PC version of MS Word is crap!

Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

Three, Markdown is also good for making print-ready documents. I have been doing it for several years now. Stop claiming it's not capable when you don't actually know.

By "Print ready", do you mean you actually publish using those files, or you can simply 'print them out'? Publishing only gets difficult when you use advanced features (i.e. don't publish print documents via Amazon with page numbers, headers and footers, etc.).

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