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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Sprialing to a Face-Palm and Better Work Flow

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This morning, I experienced the spiral theory of learning in a humorous and productive way.

spiral.jpg
Image by Xiang Hu, via Unsplash, license.
Without going too far into the gory details of my writing setup, I have for years written and edited blog posts and the early stages of other pieces with (1) a great text editor first created in the 1960's, and (2) a script that adds an HTML header and footer to the (markdown) file. That file automatically refreshes every few seconds. This setup allows me to edit an HTML file and see the results in close-enough to real time for my purposes. It's clever, if I say so myself, and easy to use.

I have also for years had an extension within the text editor that allows me to view web pages within the editor. It's ugly and not my first choice, but sometimes, it's a great way to quickly and cleanly view sites that are slow to load or that have bad visual design: I just see the text, and can access it with all my editing functions and macros if I want to.

So this morning, due to a weird problem I had encountered, my mind was working on software in the background and I made a connection that had, oddly, eluded me all this time: I could try loading local files into the browser extension. (I think part of why this never occurred to me was due in part to how one of the text editing modes opens links: It had wrongly gotten into my head that my editor would always want to edit local files, but call an external program to view HTML links...)

So I did this and very quickly realized that I could do everything -- edit HTML and see near-real-time results -- all within my edtior, and without the mild annoyance of having to open a browser, arrange application windows, re-size the browser, etc., etc. In Emacs, I just split my window and see the HTML on the left and the rendered text on the right.

I thought, with a chuckle at my own expense: How did I not realize this much sooner? And then I proceeded to write this post that way.

Lots of things just got even better in my writing software setup.

-- CAV

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