Ghetto Text Editing

I realised yesterday that one factor consistently ignored in the old vi/emacs/butterflies debate…is how “ghetto” the method of text editing is, i.e. how degenerate given the available tools. Old terminal-based editors can seem quite ghetto compared to modern GUI-based ones, but after thinking about it you can do a whole lot better.

There are many favourites of mine in the ghetto text editing category:

  • Write your text in a title for a component in SSIS, switch to code view and copy your text out.
  • Write your own text editor.
  • Write your own text editor in machine code, with another text editor.
  • If you are using a GUI designer for your own text editor, preload the text field with the text you are writing and then copy it out from the backend code.
  • Write a LaTeX document with your text, typeset it to a PDF, open the results and copy your text out.
  • Use Word…ugh, very ghetto.
  • Write a Word macro that generates your text into a WordArt instance.
  • Find the minimum-order polynomial function which produces desired ASCII values given values in some countable set.
  • Write your text in the frequency domain. Record the Fourier transform or number-theoretic transform of your text.
  • Factor your text into primes.
  • Create your own font, where the entire text is rendered with a single codepoint.
  • When it comes time to print your text document, order something online and copy the text to the description field of the order form—then it will appear on the attached invoice.
  • Or, have your name changed, then your text will appear in the electoral roll.

I’m quite certain you can think up some more…