I have decided to write a set of posts about text editors for research. This proposal has emerged from various comments I’ve received from some master and doctoral students. The idea is to present the various types of text editors (with their advantages and disadvantages from the perspective of a researcher) and then go further in some specific text editors for Mac OSX, Linux and MS Windows. I hope you find them useful.

Types of text editors

In the market, we can find two types of text editors:

  • The WYSIWYG ones which means “What You See Is What You Get”.
  • The WYSIWYM ones which means “What You See Is What You Mean”.

WYSIWYG

WYSIWYG text editors are the most common. These text editors allow you to write a document directly seeing the final result, often the printed output. Some WYSIWYG editors are: TextEdit, AbiWord, Pages, and MS Word.

WYSIWYM

In WYSIWYM text editors, the user enters the contents in a structured way according their semantic value, rather than in their final form. The main advantage of these text editors is that there is a complete separation between content and presentation. The user is only concerned with structure and add content, while the text editor is responsible for the visual aspects.

To enter the content into the WYSIWYM text editors, the user typically uses a markup language. This language is a way of encoding a document, along with the text, including labels and markings which contain additional information about the structure of the text. In other words, you should only focus on the content from the document indicating the significance of each part (if it’s a section title, author’s name,  web link, etc.). Some markup languages ​​are HTML, LaTeX and Markdown .

The following figure shows an example of text markup language and the same text after being formatted by the text editor.

title {My first paper}
author {Vicenc Fernandez}
Section {Introduction}
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo.
Section {Conclusions}
Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa.

My first paper

Vicenc Fernandez

1. Introduction
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo.

2. Conclusions
Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa.