Re: Lyx or Writer

Subject: Re: Lyx or Writer
From: "David Neeley" <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2007 10:53:51 -0500

René queried:

"An earlier message mentioned lyx, which prompted me to have a look at
it. What I'm curious to know, why use lyx when writer now exists (and
the latter makes extensive use of xml technologies?

I've done a quick web search for comparisons but couldn't find anything."

I presume you mean writer?

If so, they are two very different products. Writer is a direct
competitor to Microsoft Word and other word processors. Lyx works
differently--it is called a "document processor" or a WYGIWYM (what
you get is what you *mean*) product.

That means, among other things, that the Lyx interface does not look
the same as the final output, for one thing. However, writing and
applying styles is simple--but "freelancing" or modifying styles is
very difficult. The writer is largely constrained to the style
selection given by a particular stylesheet. The "fiddly bits" (as some
of our British friends would put it) are handled by Lyx below the
radar of conscious thought.

Autonumbering, for example, is simple and flawless. Footnotes, too,
are extremely simple. The application does not get in the way of
content creation.

While it is simple to see how the output would look in any format
desired, while writing that is not necessary nor often particularly

This may all seem very constraining--but I find the nearly complete
focus on content creation is quite liberating--I needn't be concerned
with presentation while writing. Modifying earlier versions of a
document, too, becomes much simpler (hooray! no format overrides!).

The real "fly in the ointment" is the relative complexity of creating
new style sheets. That is something I have not yet broached, although
it is on my agenda.

As I have said, creating a similar tool that works with a given XML
DTD would be very nice--especially if there is a tool that makes
conversion from XML to LaTeX straightforward for output. There may
already exist the latter, by the way, as I have not yet looked.


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