The Case for HTML Word Processors by Adam Hyde.
From the post:
Making a case for HTML editors as stealth Desktop Word Processors…the strategy has been so stealthy that not even the developers realised what they were building.
We use all these over-complicated softwares to create Desktop documents. Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, whatever you like – we know them. They are one of the core apps in any users operating system. We also know that they are slow, unwieldy and have lots of quirky ways of doing things. However most of us just accept that this is the way it is and we try not to bother ourselves by noticing just how awful these softwares actually are.
So, I think it might be interesting to ask just this simple question – what if we used Desktop HTML Editors instead of Word Processors to do Word Processing? It might sound like an irrational proposition…Word Processors are, after all, for Word Processing. HTML editors are for creating…well, …HTML. But lets just forget that. What if we could allow ourselves to imagine we used an HTML editor for all our word processing needs and HTML replaces .docx and .odt and all those other over-burdened word processing formats. What do we win and what do we lose?
I’m not convinced about HTML word processors but Adam certainly starts with the right question:
What do we win and what do we lose? (emphasis added)
Line your favorite word processing format up along side HTML + CSS and calculate the wins and loses.
Not that HTML word processors can, should or will replace complex typography when appropriate, but how many documents need the full firepower of a modern word processor?
I would ask a similar question about authoring interfaces for topic maps. What is the least interface that can usefully produce a topic map?
The full bells and whistle versions are common now (I omit naming names) but should those be the only choices?
PS: As far as MS Word, I use “open,” “close,” “save,” “copy,” “paste,” “delete,” “hyperlink,” “bold,” and “italic.” What’s that? Nine operations? You experience may vary. 😉
I use LaTeX and another word processing application for most of my writing off the Web.
I first saw this in a tweet by Ivan Herman