Everything good about Python except GUI IDE?

BartC bc at freeuk.com
Mon Feb 29 06:56:05 EST 2016

On 29/02/2016 00:49, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> On Mon, 29 Feb 2016 01:29 am, BartC wrote:
>> 20 years ago, when these things were simpler, MS Word had a mind of its
>> own even then. I had to produce a manual of few hundred pages, with
>> diagrams and images, and it just wasn't going to happen. Not without
>> spending a year on it. And employing someone to do it cost thousands.
> So you're saying that somebody else knew how to do it, but you didn't, so it
> would take you a year?

An outsider would be using their own methods, perhaps some more apt DTP 
solution; I wouldn't know.

> I find it hard to believe that Word 20 years ago couldn't deal with
> something as small as a couple of hundred pages with diagrams.

Possibly, but just because it could, maybe it does so in a complicated 
manner. Or maybe it's wasn't flexible. Or maybe some things I needed 
just weren't possible.

(How did it do contents, appendices, indices, references to labelled 
items in the rest of the text? One manual I did was for the very script 
language I was using: how could Word render code, and do so with 
automatic highlighting (eg boldening) of keywords for a language it knew 
nothing about?)

And my experience is that a lot of these things were incredibly fiddly 
anyway. I'm really the sort of guy who needs to have separate plain-text 
and rendered verions of a document.

> I find it
> much easier to believe that you're the sort of guy who would rather spend
> three days inventing your solution from scratch (involving your own custom
> programming language no less) than three hours reading the manual of the
> existing solution.

The language wasn't created just for this purpose. It was part of the 
application the manual was about. And in fact it had its own manual 
later on. The graphics application was also the one used to preview the 
rendered pages before sending them off to a Postscript printer.

(And actually some of the diagrams were in a 3D vector format belonging 
to the application, a projection of which could sent as vector graphics 
to PS; I would have needed to rasterise them for Word.

So in some ways, my solution was more sophisticated than using Word.)

>> In the end I spent a week or two throwing together some simple mark-up
>> language, written in my own editor, which was then processed by my own
>> script language and ending up (via my own graphics software along the
>> way) as Postscript. The results were perfect.
> /s/three days/two weeks/

Actually I can't remember how long it took. I know I spent some time 
building font-data tables for the fonts which only existed inside the 
Postscript printer.

>> (Have you ever had a situation where you have to edit a bit of text
>> where a word is in italic or has some particular style. You delete the
>> word, and try and add some more text, but it persists in using the style
>> of the deleted text rather than the current style.

> You know that Word lets you reset the style to plain (Roman) text? There's
> no need to delete the entire line, let alone the entire document. Text
> styles are toggled: just hit Ctrl-I (or is it Ctrl-Shift-I, it's been a
> while since I've used Word) to toggle italic on and off. Even if the
> current paragraph defaults to italic, you can still toggle it off that way.

Yes but you have to keep doing it. It's not just Word; even Thunderbird 
(which I'm using right now) sometimes gets in a twist about quoted text 
(shown in blue) and new text shown in black. It wouldn't matter but 
quoted text doesn't wrap at the ends of lines.

It also keeps screwing up any copy and paste that happens to have 
indents. Here's one example:


And if I do a simple copy and paste:


And it's not always as simple as just stripping leading spaces; 
sometimes they are just munged. And I haven't even posted yet which 
often gives yet more unexpected results.

Now someone is going to tell me what I'm doing wrong. I need to set X in 
Y to Z; obviously! The point is that it should Just Work. Multiply these 
little things by dozens of examples and you will see how using Other 
People's Software can often be a complete pain.


More information about the Python-list mailing list