[OS X TeX] Re: wrap [was: migrating from emacs...]

Joachim Kock jkock at gmx.com
Mon Feb 6 09:09:56 CET 2012

On 2012-02-05, at 4:27 PM, Enrico Franconi wrote:

> I believe that the idea to force LF to format structured text does
> not belong to the modern times - when windows do resize freely.  I am
> fully with Herbert (if I understand him well): we do not need forced
> LFs, and we need to reformat our brain to the more powerful ways to
> organise structured text of the modern times :-)
> Since I have been a hard-core emacs user, I gave this issue a serious
> thought before leaving emacs, and I concluded that we need to switch
> our paradigm, by having LFs only when there is a logical need, rather
> than when the text hits the current accidental right margin of the
> window you are working on when creating/editing the text.

I understand that soft-wrapped lines is a good invention in
WYSIWYG word processors (where it depends on document width,
not window width!), but I don't see the point of it in latex
source code:

- with long soft-wrapped lines, go-to-line functionality like
typing 'e' at a tex error, is less efficient;

- diff becomes considerably less useful when differences are
detected inside a 700-char line forming a paragraph instead of
in a 70-char line;

- comment chars work on such "paragraphs" instead of on lines,
and if one day the file is hardwrapped (e.g. by TeXShop's
shift-cmd-H, or by an email transmission), it can really be
screwed up, since a comment that used to affect 700 chars now
suddenly only affects the first 70;

- similarly, indentation affects only the first visual line of
the long line, hence the visual aid provided by indentation
(automatic in many editors), for example in enumerate or theorem
environments, is watered down;

- the two previous points are aggravated in editors (such as
TeXShop) where you can't visually see the distinction between a
soft and a hard line break, so you won't know in advance the
scope of your comment or indent operation.  In short: what you
see is not what you have.

In fact even the typing process of soft-wrapped text has an
element of confusion: when typing inside a long-line paragraph,
the later text inside the paragraph dances around on the screen,
and the sentence you were starring at a moment ago at some
position on the screen is suddenly somewhere else on the screen.

On 5 Feb 2012, at 15:49, Herbert Schulz wrote:

> Each to his/her own...

So true.


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