Word Processor Religious Wars and EZ

Word Processor Religious Wars and EZ

Post by DAVID L. JOHNS » Fri, 27 May 1994 23:40:20

Apparently some of you who are engaging in the re-incarneted discussion
about word processors (currently fussing over function-keys and file formats)
didn't like my comments in defense of EZ.  I got several letters, part of the
most polite one replied to below.

I have nothing to say against someone writing a completely wysiwyg word
processor, which saves in TeX and is trivial to learn how to use, but as
powerful as LaTeX.  But:

EZ is easy to use, you do get a very good idea what the letter will look like
on the screen, you have ispell support, you have imorted graphics of any
format you need, you can imbed notes, spreadsheets, etc.  It formats footnotes,
quotations, equations, etc.  It saves in troff, and can print through
ghostscript, or (as I do) using a dvi printer driver (eps).

The line lengths can be set to approximate the printed page by simply
adjusting the width of the window.  Page breaks can be forced.

Perhaps it is possible to write something better, but that will be a major
project.  the ATK was a major project, and a damn good one for what it is.
The denigrating comments about ez are rather insulting to the people who put
it together and compiled it for linux - in pieces, no less, so we could use
what of it we needed.  Until someone comes up with something better, this will
do nicely.

It does simple word processing, letters to Mom asking for money, that sort of
thing.  don't expect to write your dissertation, where you need exact margins,
on it (you can do this, but it would be better to use TeX).  

Here's one note sent to me about it, and my reply.  I have to go find my
asbestos gloves:


>: >Big problem with ez is that is it not WYSIWYG, thought it looks that
>: >way.  An ez document is formatted differently for each device it is
>: >currently being view on.  In the ez editor the look of the document,
>: >page breaks, and so on change every time you resize a window.  When
>: >you print, nothing is where it was in the ez window.  
>: >
>: A small bit of experimentation, and judicious choices of fonts, will allow
>: you to choose a window size that reflects printed line length.  

>But never exactly and that's my point.  Not that I really care.  However,
>take paragraph orphans for example... how do you handle that with ez?

You can force page breaks.  that's how many WP's do it.


Quote:>: >A wordprocessor's screen should reflect what the document will look like
>: >when PRINTED.  So if after this line the window shows a page break,
>: >it should occur in that same place when printed.  That doesn't happen
>: >with ez.  You cannot set margins or control exactly where text will
>: >appear.
>: >
>: You can too.  You certainly can set margins.

>I submit that you cannot because ez reformats differently for every
>type of "media."

1)  (this is a kludge):  Set the window width to display the same number of
characters per line as will print, using your favorite fonts.  It won't
continue to work with other fonts, but it's a fair approximation.

2)  Use the edit styles and add styles menues to install styles with the
relative margins you want.  These are relative to the default margins, but
now that display=printout line length (depends on your default fonts),
you have pretty good control.

Quote:>How do you set margins?  I really need to know.

It takes some fiddling.  First click on the `new template' in the file menu,
then in that window, use the ez,Add Style menu (choose a style name, and
put it in andrew's usual place for such).  Then set your margins, give it
a name, and save it.  Then, when you want these margins, add the style to
your document and use the new menu items you created.  It does work.

Quote:>: >Of course, that may not be important to some but I often need to
>: >have tight control over output and ez will not do that.
>: >
>: For tight control, you need TeX.  Most word processors are not that accurate,
>: either.

<TeX religious comments removed>
Of course.  We agree.

Quote:>But, the world still wants a word processor... sigh...

>And to be fair, I would like one for simple documents myself.

And, for simple documents, ez does fine.  Who cares about precise line
breaks or indentation in a short letter to the bank?


Quote:>Also, the fonts used by ez for the screen are not the greatest and the
>printed fonts are absolutly UGLY.  ez comes with bitmap fonts which
>sometimes magnify real ugly.  Anyway you can use scalable outline fonts
>that you know of?  What about changing the printed font?

Some of the scaled fonts are ugly, some aren't.  the base printed font is
selected in your ./preferences file.  Here's part of mine:

#       Change/remove these as you'd like
Print.BodyFont: Andy12
Typescript.BodyFont: Andy15b
*.MenubarTitleFont: Andy15
*.MenubarItemFont: Andy15
*.MenubarKeysFont: Andy15
*.PopupsKeysFont: Andy15
*.PopupItemFont: Andy15
*.BodyFont: Andy15
table.bodyfont: Andy15
# Geometry for various applications
#       Change/remove these as you'd like
Help.Geometry: =670x500
EZ.Geometry: 800x400
Typescript.Geometry: 380x220
Table.Geometry: 800x500

The rest of the fonts seem to be scaled from the choice of Print.BodyFont: , I


EZ is available if you want it, if you have a use for it.  If not, good luck
writing something better.  I will be very happy to see and use something better,

Department of Mathematics
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015       Telephone: 610-758-3759 (office)
                                                        610-828-3708 (home)
MS-DOS: Just say No!


1. TeX as a word processor (was Linux word processor?)

| It's somewhat silly, not completely. In some cases, you just can't do
| the job without TeX. At one firm where I'm doing some consulting work,
| I was approached by the accountant - a Polish lady - about how she can
| obtain the all of the special characters and accents for writing
| letters to family and friends overseas. Microsoft Word doesn't offer a
| satisfactory solution at all, whereas TeX can do everything. Word
| requires that you change the character set (which isn't always big
| enough to hold all the necessary combination), whereas TeX can
| synthesize all kinds of accents and stick them onto any character you
| want. For instance, she requires the cedilla accent (the little
| squiggle that the French use in the word Francais under the 'c') to be
| used with a whole bunch of capital letters, such as E. In TeX, you
| just type "\c E", and there it is.

Sorry to intervene in a possibly unmentionable way, but WordPerfect
allows a lot of scope in this respect (having not only the cedilla
but also the true ogonek or "Polish Hook", and many other diacritics).
There are various ways to combine an accent with a character. You can
either do this by key-strokes for occasional use, or write a macro
(which could be stored as a "Keyboard macro" if you decided, for instance,
to set up a special Polish keybaoard). Plus, you have about a 50 percent
chance to see your composed character on the screen.

If it's a choice between Word and TeX for this kind of thing, I would
choose WordPerfect (if you'll pardon the logic).

However, if it's a choice between WordPerfect and TeX, I'd choose troff
(if you know your way round the ms macros, you can set up anything your
printer can print). You could type Kazimir's example as \(,E for example,
once you had defined ",E" as a character object.

Don't ask me about Word.

2. More than two IDE under Linux?

3. Netscape V3.0 Java SOLVED(i think)

4. Where is ez word processor?

5. VxVM "stripe size"

6. EZ - as a Word Processor

7. HD Partition, The Sequel

8. Vendor wars, a religious perspective.

9. CLI, GUI, programmers, and good things (was: OS religious wars)

10. It's a religious war....

11. Searching for a server... discovering religious wars.

12. Which Linux word processor should I try that I can compare to MS Word