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A case for "character processing"

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  • Jared and Susan Chapman
    A Case for Character Processing Since writing my original comments on word processing I have been reading all of the responses. They have ranged from mild
    Message 1 of 32 , Nov 1, 2000
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      A Case for "Character Processing"

      Since writing my original comments on word processing I have been reading all of the responses.  They have ranged from mild agreement to suggestions for implementation to requests that I "take a hike." :-)  Now I make a rebuttal and my case, like Paul before King Aggripa
       
      History
      I first became aware of the pedit while looking for a palm word processing program.  I read that pedit was by far the best program for working with text.  I tried it out and was so disappointed that it did no basic formatting that I wrote flame mail to Paul.  To Paul's great credit, he caringly took me by the hand and corrected my mistake.
       
      Need
      But I still have needs from my Palm pilot.  I am an instructional technology graduate student with a minor in technical writing.  I write papers on the go because I don't have time to be at home with my desktop all the time.  I am like thousands of other Palm users who use their palm for more than just reading text and taking simple notes.  It is a functional device for me.  If I have an important message, I beam it to someone.  If I do homework on my palm I want it to be done in the palm, not through a three to five step process finally arriving at a final product.
       
      The Arguments
      This is a summary of the arguments against character processing.
       
      Adding basic formatting = feature bloat.  This can't really be an argument can it?  This program already has more features than the operating system or any other palm program I know of.  I am just asking for bold, underline, italics, left, right, and center justification.
       
      Basic formatting = slower processor speed. A text editor that can handle War and Peace can surely handle a few tags for mark up can't it?  Also, this really only a problem on huge document.  Most of the documents that I actually write on my palm is not more than a few pages in Word.
       
      Basic formatting = is undesirable.  Surely this is personal preference.  No one can tell me that they prefer to read a big block of text more than a nicely laid out display with headings and emphases added to help navigate.
       
      My Dream
      I ask for the following: 
      • When I hot synch my palm, I want to go directly to a .rtf file, print it, and see formatting including bold, underline, italics, left, right, and center justification. 
      • As I work on my palm I want a visual representation that signifies that I have formatted some text (e.g., tags or actual token changes in the text similar to mega doc.) 
      • I want to be able to manipulate that formatting from a convenient menu. 
      • I want to be able to highlight a section of text, tell it that it will look a certain way on my desk top and have tags inserted or a visual change in the text.  
      • I want to be able to see a thumb nail of my text so I can see where I am on a real sized page.
      My Plan Were I a Palm Programmer
      I am not a programmer, I am program designer.  I don't know if what I want is possible right now, but my job is to create work arounds to simulate what I want if my artists and programmers can not give me the tools I need.  I do have a plan for building this program though.  My plan includes the following:
      • First, make a two layer interface, one layer for the code source and one layer for the user to see, like a browser.
      • Second, in a Dreamweaver like fashion, add text to the user interface that is simultaneously reproduced on the code layer with appropriate tags.
      • Build a desktop conduit that will read the tags and convert it all into .rtf
      This would make pedit much cleaner.  The user interface could interpret the headers of the memo entries and represent all of the sister segments as one document, hiding the header so that it is not susceptible to accidental alteration.  New features would be just the matter of adding new tags.  The pedit program would not get any larger, just the desktop conduit.
       
      Conclusion
      It is time that we move beyond view points focusing on "text viewing" and "text manipulating" and begin focusing on "text creation."  We seem to be a semi scientific community.  We learn and enhance knowledge through debate and discussion. I have made my case.  I expect many disagreements with this so flame away.  If you have better ideas then please present them.  If we don't perfect this, someone else will.  Pocket PC products already have these abilities.  Why shouldn't pedit?
    • Paul Nevai
      # ideas are fantastic. I like pedit but currently its features lean towards # being useful for programmers. That is great, I really mean it, except I m It s
      Message 32 of 32 , Nov 26, 2000
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        # ideas are fantastic. I like pedit but currently its features lean towards
        # being useful for programmers. That is great, I really mean it, except I'm

        It's really not mean that way. It leans towards my needs: I just love to
        write anytime anything about anything. I always loved to write. Letters,
        programs, math, articles, papers, stories, whatever. Best regards, Paul
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