I[][']m defina[a][i]tely going to used[d] this[][][found on del.icio.us/popular]
July 5, 2006 7:05 PM   Subscribe

I like to write in a plain-text editor, and I've finally found a way to track edits! I've just started col[][l]aborating on a k[k]new book. This si[i][y]stem will come in handy. [][][thanks, Internet!]
posted by grumblebee (71 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
You could also use Writely.
posted by muckster at 7:20 PM on July 5, 2006


Or gobby.

[Tangentially: it is a very sad indictment of the software industry that it is 2006 and someone would still seriously propose using fricking brackets instead of some omni-present, cheap, easy-to-use collaboration software.]
posted by louie at 7:26 PM on July 5, 2006


Actually it took me about eight seconds to figure out the system and mentally correct grumblebee's post accordingly. It's a very straightforward method. A+++ WOULD TRANSLATE AGAIN
posted by disclaimer at 7:33 PM on July 5, 2006


it is a very sad indictment of the software industry that it is 2006 and someone would still seriously propose using fricking brackets instead of some omni-present, cheap, easy-to-use collaboration software.

I disagree. And I'm certainly no technophobe. I spend about 70% of my day on PCs (programming, writing and designing). I know how to use MS Word (including semi-advanced functions like style sheets and macros). And I appreciate Word and other tools, like writerly.

But sometimes I feel it easier to create when I strip my tools down to a bare minimum.

Just because someone likes to go camping, that doesn't mean he necessarily is a Luddite. I enjoy complex systems; I enjoy simple ones. Each has a place.

On a practical level, I work all over NYC. I am constantly at different workstations. Some days I'm on Macs; some days I'm on PCs. Some days I have a web connections; other days I don't. Sometimes I'm allowed to install software; sometimes I'm not. But I ALWAYS have access to an ASCII editor.
posted by grumblebee at 7:42 PM on July 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Curiously enough though, the post and title misuse the s[i][y]stem, at le[sa][as]t with regards to deleting things.[][][You should put deleted things in the brackets, but don't leave them outside]
posted by vernondalhart at 7:53 PM on July 5, 2006


I'm still l[][a]erning.
posted by grumblebee at 7:57 PM on July 5, 2006


Oops. I'm clearly not learning fast enough. [][][No more drugs after 8pm!]
posted by grumblebee at 7:58 PM on July 5, 2006


[beep] [beep]
posted by blue_beetle at 8:00 PM on July 5, 2006


I wonder if anybody has already built an emacs edit mode that does this automagically?
posted by flabdablet at 8:04 PM on July 5, 2006


I like this. I can see utility in this.

On a practical level, I work all over NYC. I am constantly at different workstations.

This is key. It's why the core of my life, computationally, is a unix account and gmail.
posted by cortex at 8:26 PM on July 5, 2006


I really dig the simplicity of this. It seems so much more simple than all the bells and whistles of a lot of programs.

Now if only I had some sort of writing project to collaborate on...
posted by mindless progress at 8:32 PM on July 5, 2006


This is described as "easily readable". C'mon.
posted by smackfu at 8:42 PM on July 5, 2006


The answer your looking for can be summed up in three letters.

v. i. m.



*ducks*
posted by melt away at 8:50 PM on July 5, 2006


If only I had an undo on Metafilter...
posted by melt away at 8:50 PM on July 5, 2006


[][][Cool!]
posted by zennie at 9:19 PM on July 5, 2006


The answer your looking for can be summed up in three letters.

v. i. m.



*ducks*
[The answer your looking for can be summed up in three letters.

v. i. m.



*ducks*]

There you go, melt away!

[][][Why do I suspect an attempt at beginning a rather obnoxious meme on MeFi?]
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:08 PM on July 5, 2006


This si[i][y]stem will come in handy. [][][t[t][T]hanks, Internet!]
posted by painquale at 10:09 PM on July 5, 2006


[the link][wtf?][500 - Internal Server Error]
posted by anarcation at 10:09 PM on July 5, 2006


The link is dead and the system makes my head hurt, are you happy yet, grumblebee? Are you?
posted by fenriq at 10:22 PM on July 5, 2006


Looks needlessly complicated to me. Tracking typos and misspellings? I consider it merely a byproduct of the far more useful word processing change tracking feature that is intended to track, y'know, substantive changes.
posted by chimaera at 10:27 PM on July 5, 2006


Seems like it would be a [pain][snap] to write a wiki-like function that shows any diffs side-by-side. It looks really [dumb][easy] and is [excruciating][a breeze] to get used to. [][][We have brackets.]
posted by dhartung at 11:06 PM on July 5, 2006


[][][We have brackets.]

And you don't even have to use shift. [][][Bonus!]
posted by Chuckles at 11:22 PM on July 5, 2006


I [can't][finally] figure[][d] out how to track edits in plain text!
posted by obvious at 11:38 PM on July 5, 2006


And you don't even have to use shift.

Actually, that's the main problem with it: It's made for US keyboard layouts. On my swiss-german keyboard layout, I have to press ALT GR - รจ for "[", and ALT GR - ! for "]".

So unless there's a way to re-map those keys, it's pretty useless to anyone using a non-US keyboard layout.
posted by slater at 1:59 AM on July 6, 2006


OK maybe not pretty useless, but it makes it harder for ppl to edit on non-US keyboard layouts.

Sorry, pet peeve of mine. Not everybody uses US keyboard layouts...
posted by slater at 2:00 AM on July 6, 2006


Seems to me that it should be /impossible/pretty easy/ to adapt for different /character sets/keyboard conventions/Note: this variant is less noisy, too - flabdablet 7-jul-2006/.
posted by flabdablet at 2:05 AM on July 6, 2006


[[[CollaborativeDocument sharedDocument] getLastRevision] setHasBeenEdited:YES];
posted by Mikey-San at 2:11 AM on July 6, 2006


See also: elastic tabstops
posted by Plutor at 3:08 AM on July 6, 2006


As hokey as this is, it wouldn't be that hard to write a regexp to work with the notation to present final (post edit) versions of documents. I doubt this is going to take off though.
posted by furtive at 4:28 AM on July 6, 2006


Damn, do I feel old and crusty. I'd still rather line-edit 50+ page theses by hand on hardcopy then cope with this visual equivalent of chundering on the page. I find it obnoxiously intrusive, and more trouble than it's worth to correct minute errors (like, say, inverted letters). Why should one keystroke wrong necessitate--what...three or four times that many?--to indicate it needs correcting (not even correcting it)? Bleah.

</curmudgeon>
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 4:33 AM on July 6, 2006


furtive: "As hokey as this is, it wouldn't be that hard to write a regexp to work with the notation to present final (post edit) versions of documents."

The best way would probably be to use two regexps:

     s/\[[^\]]+\](?!\[)|\[\]\[\]\[[^\]]+\]//g      # Deletions and comments
     s/\[[^\]]*\]\[([^\]]+)\](?!\[)/\1/g           # Corrections

Granted, you could probably do it with one, but this is far easier to maintain, and probably would be less work for the RegExp engine in the long run. (Also, finally a use for zero-length negative lookahead assertions!)
posted by Plutor at 5:02 AM on July 6, 2006


This hardly has to be mentioned, but those are obviously Perl regular expressions, not "extended", and certainly not "basic".
posted by Plutor at 5:04 AM on July 6, 2006


Lovely notation, but no escape character. How does one render this?

The open square bracket character -- [ -- is used to start a command. The close bracket character -- ] -- is used to end a command.

The only way under the notation is this.

The open square bracket character -- [ -- is used to start a command. The close bracket character -- ] [ -- is used to start a command. The close bracket character -- ] -- is used to end a command.

Though I'd add this.

The open square bracket character -- [ -- is used to start a command. The close bracket character -- ] [ -- is used to start a command. The close bracket character -- ] [Escape characters, motherfuckers, can you define one!] -- is used to end a command.
posted by eriko at 5:22 AM on July 6, 2006


Maybe I don't get it. What happens if someone wants to edit your edits. For example, I take this:
embarrassing
and 'correct' it:
embarr[r]assing
You come along to fix the dumbassery:
embar[r][][r]assing
And now it's vague. Parse that properly with a regexp, whydontcha.
posted by fleacircus at 5:24 AM on July 6, 2006


fleacircus, you'd do it like this:

embarr[r[r][][spellcheck!!!]]assing

That's the beauty of it -- edits within edits are actually very simple once you get the hang of it.
posted by localroger at 5:33 AM on July 6, 2006


Also, the correcting edit isn't quite right, there should be an empty bracket signifying that you're replacing emptiness with the extra r, like this:

embarr[][r]assing

Which you'd then un-correct like this:

embarr[][r[r][][was right the first time]]assing

Still getting the hang of it, but I like it.
posted by localroger at 5:36 AM on July 6, 2006


embarr[r[r][][spellcheck!!!]]assing

"That's the beauty of it"? What's the UGLY of it, then?
posted by Mikey-San at 5:37 AM on July 6, 2006


On second thought, those RegExps only handle one-deep corrections.
posted by Plutor at 5:38 AM on July 6, 2006


Ah okay. That still gets ugly fast but it does work.
posted by fleacircus at 5:47 AM on July 6, 2006


I just can't believe people would consider, in this day and age, manually performing edits like this. Even decades-old software can automatically track revisions of files, automatically showing differences and associating messages with each change. Software designed in the last 5 to 10 years has even better support for multiple, decentralized editors (such as linus torvalds's git) -- so the objection "We couldn't just edit, because in a patent every change is crucial and must be reviewed. We couldn't just use standard revision control, because we needed to shoot things back-and-forth across myriad different file formats (we all use different editors)." is moot (unless you really do mean that you save .txt files with Mac line endings, she saves .doc files, and he saves OpenOffice files)

Here's the nightmare:

Alice writes a document and sends it to Bob and Clara for review. Clara sends it on to Dave, too.

They all make revisions.

Dave sends Clara his edits, and Clara manually creates a document with her edits and Dave's.

Then, Clara and Bob send their documents to Alice, and she manually creates a document with all the edits from Dave, Clara, and Bob.

Then, Dave has some more last-minute edits, and sends them directly to Alice. Now she has to integrate those changes in her document, being careful to get Dave's new edits, and reverse any edits Dave changed his mind about since the first revision.

Heaven forbid Alice has made some changes during the same time!

Error prone? No kidding. Also tedious as all hell. But with proper revision tracking software, Alice will easily be able to call up a list of differences between any two files, or between a pair of files and their common ancestor. Then, she can pick and choose which edits to take, finally issuing a new version of the document. Or she can direct the software to simply take all the edits and only make her make a decision if two people have changed the same part of the document in different ways compared to the common ancestor.

Want to find out who made an edit? Proper version control systems include a command that might be called "annotate" or "blame". Oh -- it was Erica, back at the beginning of June, and the change message says why.

Oh, and there are no problems if you need to incorporate square brackets in your documents.
posted by jepler at 6:06 AM on July 6, 2006


jepler, dude, we know.
posted by fleacircus at 6:10 AM on July 6, 2006


We couldn't just use standard revision control, because we needed to shoot things back-and-forth across myriad different file formats (we all use different editors).

Depending on your workflow and organization, this isn't so odd. I just signed a contract for a book I'm co-writing. I've never met the other author (or talked to him on the phone). We've only exchanged emails. I wouldn't DREAM of pushing him to use specific tools, and if he asked me to use something, I wouldn't like it. Since I'm insanely mobile (usually without a laptop), I write little bits and pieces all over the place -- often directly into gmail. Since I'm working several jobs while I write this book, the bit-and-pieces method is the only way I'll get my part of the book done. So I NEED simple methods that transcend ANY particular piece of software.

Yes, if I was managing a huge number of people who were collaborating on a project together, I would consider forcing them to all use the same software -- or compatible software. But it's a tradeoff. If they use tools that speak to each other, the collaboration will be easier to manage. If I let them all use whatever tools they want, their individual creativity will get a boost. Every carpenter likes to use his own hammer.

This isn't always rational, but it would be foolish to discount it. I can't imagine writing longhand anymore, but some people can't think well unless they do so. I've certainly been forced to use tools that have blunted my creativity. These tools made sense on an the level of the team, but personally they hurt me.

Email is KEY. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I use email for SO much more than ... email. Email has become my primary means of transmitting and saving information. But I'm not talking about a specific email client or service. So I can't rely on a special feature of gmail or yahoo mail. I can only rely on the fact that every email program can send plain text. So I need plain text solutions.
posted by grumblebee at 6:31 AM on July 6, 2006


Your favorite [band][text editor] sucks.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:33 AM on July 6, 2006


Looks like someone's been [cool][1@m3] enough to toss together a javascript converter already.
posted by youarenothere at 6:55 AM on July 6, 2006


I edit for a living. I would kill myself before I used this system.
posted by dame at 6:55 AM on July 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


The answer you[r]['re] looking for can be summed up in three letters.

Hmmm.... whole new avenues of pedantry suddenly open up.
posted by signal at 7:43 AM on July 6, 2006


Am I the only one who's heard of the <ins&gt and <del&gt (X)HTML tags?
  • Support in browsers isn't perfect, but it's better than browser support for bracktastic.
  • With clever CSS you can view different versions of the document by manipulating the style sheet.
  • Many of editors have at least some experience with (X)HTML, whereas bracktastic editing is new.
Also, I'm with dame.I agree with dame, even though I no longer edit professionally
posted by elderling at 8:02 AM on July 6, 2006


I have a method for tracking my to-do lists in a text editor that works fantastically well for me.

Whenever I show it to people, their eyes glaze over.

This whole thread reminds me of that gap between the way this system works for me, and the way other people see it.
posted by lodurr at 8:06 AM on July 6, 2006


Wait, are there people in this thread who aren't being facetious? Developer feels need to reinvent wheel, ok. People actually switching to his square wheel, kind of weird.
posted by yerfatma at 8:11 AM on July 6, 2006


Very cool and somehow satisfying to use. And I think with just a little practice the "translation" would be accomplished without thought. (Just as we translate strings of letters into words into meaning without thought.)
posted by LeisureGuy at 8:13 AM on July 6, 2006


Wait, are there people in this thread who aren't being facetious?

me.
posted by grumblebee at 8:15 AM on July 6, 2006


I never cease to be amazed at the lengths people will go to in order to rationalize their aesthetic preferences.

About a year ago, I evaluated a word processing package "for creative writers". The website is full of breathless copy about how wonderfully the software meets the needs of "creative writers" for something that doesn't conflate formatting with structure, and that gathers all of the working pages for an entire "project" into a single package.

The authors assumed that "creative writers" would want to learn be willing to learn be even vaguely interested in learning a whole new paradigm for organizing documents, and then adopt a new and not very cross-compatible file format (it was essentially packages of basic RTFs), just for the sake of (maybe) making it a little easier to cross-reference notes and body copy.

This leaves out the fact that this wonderful "writers" word processor omitted revision tracking and revision control. So you'd have to save a whole new copy of the package every time you made a fork in your novel's source code.

Why do I bother telling this story? Because it illustrates the length that people will go to in order to rationalize their own aesthetic choices -- to recast them as fundamental, as pre-aesthetic. These guys wanted an IDE for their documents; if that works for them, great. Just don't rationalize it.

Folks, it's a preference, it's not the word of God. If you like using brackets, and are willing to deal with the fact that I (and most other humans) won't bother to learn to read your bracket-code, then cool, have fun. The rest of us will use revision control systems (if our employers have paid someone to set them up) or the native change-tracking facility in our word processors.
posted by lodurr at 8:20 AM on July 6, 2006


I'm often involved in collaborative editing where the collaborators are in separate countries, if not separate continents. We have to run each version of our documents through a program that adds scientific notations. The usual change-tracking software screws everything up, even more than the normal complications of mutually foreign documents. The bracket system could be a useful option, used as convenient to the individual editors. [][][It's just a neat trick. Deal.]
posted by zennie at 8:48 AM on July 6, 2006


[I like to write in a plain-text editor, and I've finally found a way to track edits! I've just started col[][l]aborating on a k[k]new book. This si[i][y]stem will come in handy. [][][thanks, Internet!]]

There, fixed that for ya.
posted by sfts2 at 9:13 AM on July 6, 2006


I never cease to be amazed at the lengths people will go to in order to rationalize their aesthetic preferences .... it's a preference, it's not the word of God.

Who is saying anything else?

From the link I posted:

In the end, we found our solution in the personal trick bag of Jef Raskin .... So give bracket notation a try the next time you need to edit something. You might be pleasantly surprised at just how seamlessly it works. We've been using it for a long time, and we like it. [Emphasis mine.]

I certainly didn't post this thinking everyone -- or even a large group of people -- would start using it. I just thought SOME people might find it useful -- particularly freelancers who don't have an employer.

Did you think I was trying to preach this system as Gospel? That I was saying it was better than other systems? What did I or anyone else say that made you think that?

It's just a tool that I thought (some) others might like to know about. It's not Jesus.
posted by grumblebee at 9:16 AM on July 6, 2006


Sounds like fun to add some extra square brackets in your scientific notation.

or what lodurr said.
posted by sfts2 at 9:17 AM on July 6, 2006


I like this. Whether it's this system or something XML based, it would be nice for something that could be edited manually to become a standard set of tags for edit tracking in all word processing software, so files could be transferred from OS to OS and program to program and still retain the tracking.
posted by oraknabo at 10:02 AM on July 6, 2006


I agree with Dame. People need to be less precious about edits, and just read the latest version of the text. If you don't trust the editor to edit, get a new one.

RCS rocks for one user on their own, btw. You can diff the editor's version when it comes back, if you like.
posted by bonaldi at 10:35 AM on July 6, 2006


Did you think I was trying to preach this system as Gospel?

I don't know what you were trying to do. I do know that a lot of people were posting with defenses of the obvious deficiencies of such a system. Why defend it, if it's an aesthetic choice?

... And somehow I didn't parse that part of Dame's response, earlier. If that's what was meant, I agree with that, too. It's just words; unless it's a patent application (and honestly, probably not even then), neither lives nor jobs will be lost.
posted by lodurr at 11:06 AM on July 6, 2006


It's just words.

Not to me. Words are one of five or six things I live for. But that's me. I can't defend the value of words.

I don't quite understand your use of the word "aesthetic," which I take to mean a concern with beauty. Yes, my reasons for liking this system are PERSONAL, in the sense that I can see how it's not universally useful. But my grounds for liking it are practical, not aesthetic. (I've explained my PRACTICAL reasons, above -- the fact that I move from machine-to-machine, etc.) If someone can suggest a system that would better meet my needs, I'd adopt it, without caring which system was more aesthetically pleasing.


I do know that a lot of people were posting with defenses of the obvious deficiencies of such a system.


WHO are you talking about??? I feel like you and I get irritated by the same thing (though I may be misunderstanding you). It drives me crazy when people go on and on about how Macs are better than PCs (or vice versa), and then I discover that they've never really used the other platform. They're just defending what they're used to.

But I don't see that happening here. Besides the stuff I've written, most of the posts have been NEGATIVE. Of the positive posts, the closest to a defense have been:

You don't have to use shift. -- Chuckles

and

Very cool and someone satisfying to use... -- LeasureGuy

Neither one of these is an Earth-shattering defense. Trying to get your objection, I went back through the thread and looked for other defenses. I didn't find any. Everything else I found was praise, not defense:

I really dig the simplicity of this. -- mindless progress

As hokey as this is, it wouldn't be that hard to write a regexp... -- furtive (Is this even praise?)

Lovely notation, but no escape character -- eriko (Mixed praise.)

I like this ... It would be nice if something that could be edited manually to be come a standard... -- oraknobo

What are you seeing that I'm missing????
posted by grumblebee at 12:06 PM on July 6, 2006


You're taking my comments too seriously. I'll chalk that up to the depleted nature of purely textual communication.

In my little screed -- as in many of my little screeds -- I was not necessarily speaking solely about the subject at hand. I was using it as a jumping off point to talk about the tendency that a lot of people have to justify their aesthetic choices

I tend to use the term "aesthetic" in a Nietszchean sense. It's not "beauty" that I refer to with that term, but the things we do out of preference with only peripheral or secondary regard for utility. To use your choice of a system like this as an example: Your choice of plain text (over, say, Word, RTF, or HTML) could be described as one made out of utility; your choice to use this particular method of notating changes -- and indeed, your choice to focus on the changes (see Dame's comment) -- is an aesthetic choice, in my view.

Put another way: Given solutions of equal or near equal utility, the choice will typically have to be made on aesthetic grounds.
posted by lodurr at 12:22 PM on July 6, 2006


Okay, I agree with most of what you say. It sounded like you were talking specifically about this thread.

I don't agree that my choice to focus on changes is aesthetic (i.e. not based on utility). For me, writing is almost completely about utility. My aesthetic is that form follows function.

Dame's an editor. I work with an editor too. I'm NOT talking about focusing on HIS changes. I don't. I generally just go with them. I'm talking about the back-and-forth that happens at an earlier stage, during collaboration.

My co-writer and I have different opinions, sometimes. If we just go with whoever last made a change, then the writing becomes about who got there last. This is arbitrary and unhelpful. Often, when I can compare my version with his, I can see which one is better and choose one (and then run it by him). The GOAL is to come up with the clearest, most evocative prose. ALL tools should further this aim or be chucked.
posted by grumblebee at 12:33 PM on July 6, 2006


Grumblebee: I think the best solution is not marked-up text, which forces you to manually or automatically crawl over the whole thing looking for changes -- and highlights utterly irrelevant changes such as spelling mistakes -- but to use RCS on one machine to log revisions every time you pass to your co-writer, and just check the diffs when they return their text.
posted by bonaldi at 12:34 PM on July 6, 2006


My aesthetic is that form follows function.

Exactly!
posted by lodurr at 1:09 PM on July 6, 2006


To the bee's point: The problem with programmatic revisioning systems is that they require an infrastructure. If you don't have any infrastructure but your thumb drive or some ftp folder, and don't want to expend personal time learning how to host a versioning system, then you pretty much need to use a client / user based system -- e.g., something like this or like the revision tracking in Word / OOo.
posted by lodurr at 1:12 PM on July 6, 2006


... I just (still) happen to think this particular system would be kind of maddening, for me. Too much like trying to read raw RTF.
posted by lodurr at 1:13 PM on July 6, 2006


I keep coming back in my mind to the experience of reading. When I look at documents with change tracking on, the change tracking is often too distracting for me -- I often have to turn it off to really grok what's being said. The perception is different if you read with "noise" than it is if you read the passage "clean."

With a fair amount of careful effort, I think you can overcome the problems with reading change-tracked manuscripts with the changes displayed. But it takes a lot of mental effort and at that point, you're not having the same experience that you expect the reader to have. This is more of an issue with narrative prose than with expository prose, but it's still an issue with expository prose.
posted by lodurr at 1:18 PM on July 6, 2006


People like me, who write and collaborate outside of any infrastructure, may be in the minority now, but I'd bet our numbers are growing.

I write computers books. When searching for collaborators, it's natural to email strangers who are eminent in the book's relevant field. Which is what I did. And I got myself an amazing co-writer. With this book, it's just him and me, but for a future book, it might be ten other people. I can't demand these people -- some of whom are much higher on the totem pole than me -- use some particular system.

This sort of ad-hoc collaboration is growing. Web tools are okay for this sort of thing, as-long-as they're trustworthy, easy to learn (for various people at various levels who you can't train, because they live all over the world), and as-long-as each person has a persistent web connection.
posted by grumblebee at 1:21 PM on July 6, 2006


Lodurr: RCS is great for versioning because it doesn't need any infrastructure like a server -- it just runs locally with totally no fuss -- and it keeps the entire history of a file as file,v in the same folder.

If you're on a computer without RCS, you can keep the files as file.1 file.2 and check them in when you get to one with it.

Grumblebee: You have to demand they use some system, don't you? Even if that "system" is just marking up the text. If not, revision control and diffs on your own end will work without any participation on their part.
posted by bonaldi at 1:36 PM on July 6, 2006


I saw Alan Cooper speak in '00; someone asked him about Extreme Programming. He said somethng to the effect that the fact people felt they needed it was a great illustration of how software engineering had failed as a profession to claim rightful control over the requirements process.

I see something similar in what you're saying. Obviously this kind of an approach won't scale as the number of ex-infrastructural workers increases to include people not comfortable with visually parsing markup code. So there needs to be a technical solution.

Really, truly inter-operable standard formats seem to me to be the only way to meet that need. It remains to be seen, though, whether ODF will be sufficiently portable to allow cross-platform -- really, cross-app -- collaboration. RTF isn't. I've tried passing change-tracked documents across from Word to OOo, both 1.x and "2.0" (1.95 or whatever), and vice-versa, and it doesn't work in a useful way.

Hell, the simple formatting often munges in embarrassing ways. I used to freelance for the company I now work for. During that time I passed them a bunch of estimates in the form of Excel files exported from NeoOffice (OO 1.x). Now that I work here, I see how horribly ugly they are when you actually load them in Excel.

So, the need for something like this exposes the failure of software institutions -- either commercial or F/OSS -- to produce a workable solution that's not tied to an infrastructure.
posted by lodurr at 1:36 PM on July 6, 2006


bonaldi, I'll look at that; I really hadn't been aware that there was such a thing. It might be useful for some things we do. Maybe.
posted by lodurr at 1:38 PM on July 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


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