[xiphos-devel] that blasted editor

Caleb Maclennan caleb at alerque.com
Mon Apr 20 01:36:01 MST 2020

On Sat, Apr 18, 2020 at 12:54 PM Greg Hellings <greg.hellings at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 18, 2020 at 2:40 AM Dominique Corbex <dominique at corbex.org> wrote:
>> I'm using marker myself: https://github.com/fabiocolacio/Marker
> I had seen that. It doesn't have any helper buttons, but I imagine we could add one for the most basic things:

I've been unsure what to say about the whole editor shin-dig. A large
part of that is because I'm VERY opinionated about my editor. That
also makes me not the target audience. Yes I'm the kind of person that
would prefer everything shell out to $EDITOR. Yes I am composing this
email in a full blown Neovim instance emedded in Gmail (Firenvim). I
have studiously avoided ever using Xiphos to compose content and use
it only as a viewer. First the editor interface is clunky, and second
the data goes somewhere not transparent that it isn't clear how to
backup or sync to other machines. I'm sure there is a way, it just
isn't obvious. You'll probably never make me happy on these two
counts. Unless you embed a Neovim interface or a way to launch an
external editor I probably won't be happy about the editor, and unless
the data is in a plain text format somewhere that I can add to a git
repository to sync between machines I probably won't be comfortable
with the data storage.

All that to say, take my input with a grain of salt. In no particular order:

* Getting rid of GTKHTML sounds like a good plan, even if it means
some regression in functionality. Dragging along one nightmare HTML
rendering library is enough burden for the project and holds things
back enough. Having the editor hold back releases on the main UI is a
shame. Personally I consider it entirely secondary.

* Moving to Markdown as an input format instead of a WYSIWYG HTML
editor sounds like a great thing actually. This would still allow
rendering content inerspersed with the same HTML viewer that Xiphos
uses for all content rendering while greatly freeing up the input
process to use simpler editors.

* If you are looking for inspiration on the Markdown input front,
Apostrophe is a very clean GTK editor (and a bit more writer focused
than Marker which is just a touch more technical). Other interesting
editors are Marktext and Zettlr, both Electron apps so not useful for
embedding or code reuse but good references for what the Markdown
experience can be like.

* Moving to Markdown would open the door to launching an external
editor and still having an embeded editor that could be as ismple as a
plain text input box.

* Markdown in relatively easy to extent for special purposes.
Depending on what rendering engine you use to covert with, syntax
extensions that handle domain specific needs can be quite simple.

* Using Markdown one way to embed an editor might be to embed one of
the many web editor widgets. If they run in webkit these might be be a
way to keep a WYSIWYG feel while using a Markdown backend and
providing a transition for existing HTML content.

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