[oclug] Seeking GUI text editor that works
cmacd at achilles.net
Tue Mar 26 20:08:19 EST 2002
I know that among real UNIX Geeks, that the real men use VI and for
everyone else there is EMACS, (or is it the other way around?) but I am
not a UNIX geek.
I have been editing my web pages using a program called PFE (Programmers
File Editor) http://www.lancs.ac.uk/people/cpaap/pfe/ which is a
free-as-in-beer text editor written by a university professor at
Lancaster.ac.UK on my old AMD K-5 133 (486) Windows 3.1 machine. The
hard drive has started to make funny noises, so before it starts with
the magic smoke I am finally moving my web updating to the AMD K6-2 500
Linux box I bought last year to play with, in the process probably
removing the last user of Trumpet Winsock from AJH's dialup server.
MY question is what sort of editor can I use to productively do my web
updates. My procedure for updating my web pages is to save suggested
sites and changes to text files, either from my research, or from E-mail
I have received. I edit these text files to conform to the standard for
the page as appropriate, add notes to myself when I verify the
information, and save them in a directory. When it is time to update
some of my pages, I load the previous version of each page into one
editor window, and start going through the suggested changes. Much
cutting and pasting later, I have new pages saved in a fresh directory
named for the date of the update ready to upload
to the webserver. The suggestions I have looked at get "draged and
dropped" into a "done" directory in case I need to refer to them. Being
visualy oriented, I tend to interact with the computer using the mouse,
I tend not to use too many hotkeys - except for control C, V and X..
The system originally was loaded with SuSE 6.3 and I have upgraded it to
latest version. (7.3 Personal edition) When I open the "editors"
menu there are besides Vi and EMACS several others including Kword and
Kword, AKA "advanced text editor" looks impressive, happily loading the
web page and showing each element in a different colour. When I try to
make a change however it will not apparently let me type a "-" dash.
the key press does not show up and if there is already one in the file,
it is not shown, even as a blank space on the screen. Needles to say
the first time I tried to use this I was trying to change a listing for
http://www.skatebuys.com/ to the new address of http://www.skate-buys.com/
I imagine that the problem may be simple like a configuration file set
up for a German keyboard or some other incorrect option but I am not
wanting to waste a great deal of time troubleshooting unless I can get a
hint at where the problem may be hiding. If anyone can suggest where to
look, I would of course be happy to try to make a fix. In my brief look
before I gave up on it, the program seemed to have a lot of thought put
The next one I tried was Kedit. It has a annoying feature, if you
highlight a URL, (which when I am doing webpages it is normally either
with the intention to delete, move or to copy the link) Kedit helpfully
(not) pops up a window asking if I want to open the link in my choice of
three different web browsers..
Kedit also had the nerve to lock up on my when I had three windows open,
and had spent almost a hour on making changes to the as of yet unsaved
files. A short time later after I had restarted it and re-did the work
it locked up again, although I had been doing Paranoid mode saving of
the files I was working on the second time arround. I don't even recall
normally having that many problems with several windows being edited
with Win 3.1 and PFE. Kedit just went away, when I was trying to do a
"find", leaving a window border that would not even respond to the
"click here to close" icon. "ps aux" and "kill" were needed to clear it
out of the desktop.
I am not discouraged. I have switched to Linux for freedom, not
free-beer. but I am wondering what the replacement for PFE is on my
SuSE system. I am running KDE as it is the SuSE default, and I am
riding the learning curve on a few other things at the same time so I
don't want to jump to a Gnome solution, although I believe that the
Gnome libraries are also installable so a Gnome editor that will run
under KDE is a possibility.
I am mainly doing Web Pages and NO I don't want a WYSIWYG web editor, my
pages are heavy on external links, and any of the WYSIWYG editors that I
have tied all seem to like to change them to local links. Many of them
seem to make assumptions that I want fancy formatting or the use of CSS
on the finished pages (I don't) The web pages are also used to generate
a Usenet FAQ posting so I am very careful in what I do and do not change
on then, (and after the OLS I will take a go at trying whatever dyork
says about using docbook, but not for a long while on a production page)
Anyway, sorry to ramble, what I would like is a drop-in replacement for
PFE. I particularly am looking for what PFE calls a macro, where one
can go to a menu and paste in something from a table of selections like
E-mail: <a HREF="mailto:<**>"><**></a>
And then use a function key to automatically find and select the <**>
fields and do a control V to replace them with a value that has been
copied from another document. Syntax highlighting is nice, as for that
mater would be a warning / check to tell me when I have typed something
Stability is assumed to be vital. Since I am moving information from
one document to another, cut and paste MUST work, including the Ability
to highlight old information and paste new information in place of it.
While I am getting to like the "middle button paste" feature, many of my
updates are of the "we have a new web address, could you change it on
your FAQ" kind, where the ability to delete the old information while
at the same time adding the new is a real timesaver.
Being able to save by default in a different directory than I am opening
documents from, and remembering where I went for the last document are
also high on my list, as would be the making of automatic backups of
previous versions in a sub-directory. (ability to browse the recently
used directories would be a bonus) A lightweight program that will not
make me wait for it to keep swapping is also an important feature.
The ability to automaticaly strip trailling spaces off of lines would
help in actually posting the text version of the FAQs, as if I try to
e-mail a posting to the posting server at MIT, a single trailing space
on a line results in my e-mail getting MIME encoded in transit, and
threfore being rejected by the posting server. Likewise, a "find any
non-7-bit-acsii character" function would be helpful for the same reason.
I am navigating with both the mouse and the find command, and I don't
like to remember a lot of cryptic codes to get things to work. I want
all features to be findable in drop-down or right click menus.
I am a hopeless LUSER are can someone suggest what package I should tell
YAST to install? I would of course like to keep to official SuSE
packages if possible as I don't want to have a confused system. And with
a 28.8 Modem, I would rather not have to download a large package.
Another concern is that my wife is still looking for a replacement for
the IDE from Visual C before I can get her to give up on WIN95, so
getting this problem solved is a prerequisite for my next Linux
demonstration for her.
Charles MacDonald Stittsville Ontario
cmacd at achilles.net Just Beyond the Fringe
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