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FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Posted Nov 5, 2010 21:57 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
Parent article: FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Basically this means that the cursor will always be centered mid-screen so your eye doesn't have to track the text to the bottom of the screen while writing. When you reach the end of a line, FocusWriter scrolls the text up rather than pushing the cursor down one line.
This was Emacs's default editing mode for many, many years. Vague memories say that WordStar worked the same way, as well. Of course, in Emacs, binding turning this feature on and off to a key is trivial. Does FocusWriter not have customizable keybindings? I'd call this an absolutely crucial feature for anything intended for serious writing, and virtually everything supports it, except, it seems, for most of the editors in this review. (Of course, Emacs is not aimed at the same users as FocusWriter.)

The advantage of FocusWriter over a full-screen randomly-chosen text editor is unclear. Is maximising a window really beyond authors? Possibly it's simply that most other editors that let you turn off the distractions have a fairly steep learning curve...


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FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Posted Nov 5, 2010 23:15 UTC (Fri) by Alterego (guest, #55989) [Link]

My mother typed several books in OpenOffice, and it was rather painfull (for me) to make things simple (for her) by reducing the interface to something usable and convenient : hide useless buttons, reduce menu contents, define a decent stylesheet...

It would have been much better to have a simpler text processor, which does it job and stay out of the way.

And the cursor in the center of the page is really a great idea. Next book will probably be done with FocusWriter.

FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Posted Nov 6, 2010 0:31 UTC (Sat) by Lennie (guest, #49641) [Link]

Abiword, maybe ?

FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Posted Nov 6, 2010 18:18 UTC (Sat) by Darkmere (subscriber, #53695) [Link]

AbiWord is these days far from "simple" as it comes out of the box. I'd guess the same problem comes there as for LibreOffice. Too many features on screen.

FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Posted Nov 8, 2010 14:29 UTC (Mon) by hmh (subscriber, #3838) [Link]

There is also LyX. It is a document processor, so it tends to help any sort of focused writing (however, keep in mind that I use it for reports and articles, not prose).

As long as you keep yourself from trying fancy stuff that would require Latex knowledge (LyX calls that "evil red text"), it just works and it will typeset her books to PDF with a single click.

It is damn easy to install (even in Windows) nowadays.

The spellchecker, OTOH, is not nearly as advanced as OOO's.

FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Posted Nov 6, 2010 2:29 UTC (Sat) by nicooo (guest, #69134) [Link]

> The advantage of FocusWriter over a full-screen randomly-chosen text editor is unclear.

Vim doesn't support proportional fonts. The same with anything running in a console.

FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Posted Nov 6, 2010 14:53 UTC (Sat) by rswarbrick (subscriber, #47560) [Link]

Hmm, it seems that gvim doesn't allow this. But Emacs can use arbitrary ttf fonts as of version 23.1 on Linux (and earlier on Windows & Mac, it seems). See http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/XftGnuEmacs

FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Posted Nov 7, 2010 20:27 UTC (Sun) by eru (subscriber, #2753) [Link]

Vim doesn't support proportional fonts. The same with anything running in a console.

This is of course a personal preference, but I find proportional fonts very distracting for editing. I actually find myself making more typing erros with them than with fixed-width. Odd.

FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Posted Nov 9, 2010 21:04 UTC (Tue) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Doesn't that depend what sort of thing you're writing? I find proportional fonts intolerable for writing code, but when writing English (including things like LaTeX), proportional fonts are a must. (This would probably be true of all languages using a Latinate writing system, if I spoke any others.)

Proportional fonts are all distractions, no writing

Posted Nov 11, 2010 11:11 UTC (Thu) by eru (subscriber, #2753) [Link]

Doesn't that depend what sort of thing you're writing?

For me, not really. I find any writing is easier in fixed-width. The first thing I do in any GUI mail client editing box is set the font to fixed, if possible, otherwise my messages are even more garbage than usual... I really don't know why it is so. Perhaps my subconscious does not get enough feedback when hitting a symbol that is very narrow in proportional fonts, and hits the key again?

FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Posted Nov 17, 2010 16:02 UTC (Wed) by jtc (guest, #6246) [Link]

"I actually find myself making more typing >erros< with them than with fixed-width."

Did you write this using a proportional font? :-)

FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Posted Nov 8, 2010 9:23 UTC (Mon) by loevborg (guest, #51779) [Link]

How I wish there was a Vim which, much like Emacs, worked with proportional fonts! Theoretically, gvim supports arbitrary fonts, but only fixed-width fonts look nice because each character still takes up the same screen space. The limitation is built into the editor. Vim supports block editing mode, which is of course impossible if columns don't line up exactly. Using a nice font like Microsoft's "Consola" certainly improves things, but its readability is still a far cry from a real proportional font (just imagine a web page or a book set in fixed-width type).

FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Posted Nov 28, 2010 9:18 UTC (Sun) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164) [Link]

maybe the VI editing mode in kate can be of assistance ;-)

It would of course make you less cool, using a GUI text editor (and it won't work on console-only systems) but at least many of the nice VI features are there...

FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions

Posted Jan 10, 2011 9:43 UTC (Mon) by loevborg (guest, #51779) [Link]

Kate's vi mode is actually very intersting, thanks. Using a GUI toolkit is really a necessity to have proportional fonts. For convenience of other readers, here's a link: http://kate-editor.org/kate-vi-mode/


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