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Re: (Slightly Off-Topic) Emacs-like Office App

From: Richard V. Molen
Subject: Re: (Slightly Off-Topic) Emacs-like Office App
Date: 01 Nov 2002 09:43:41 -0800
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.2 writes:

> The things that would convince me it's worth it are: people want the product;
> I manage to make money out of it thus fulfilling my dream of beginning an 
> income generating programming cooperative (I'm an anarchist and I want rid of
> bosses =P); and it wins people over to the GNU cause (Like I said, I don't
> think providing an equivalent will do it - it needs to be BETTER).

> As for the features of Emacs creeping in, why wait when we can just do it
> from scratch? The best features of Emacs, I would say, would be its use of
> modes and elisp. 

How might Emacs modes and elisp benefit typical office users in such a way that
they would say, "Hey, I this cool, maybe I should try it."?

> Most programs would need a complete rewrite to provide that
> functionality anyway. This would have the advantage of having it from the
> start.

It seems to me that the cart of existing applications (like Emacs) is
being put in front of the ox of user requirements analysis.  First
decide which users will be your primary focus, figure out what would
make their life easier and how you can sell them on it.  Your approach
seems to be from the opposite direction, "How do I take a cool app
like Emacs & make it so everyone will want to use it."

If I was just starting a project I'd review the UML's software
development process 'use-case analysis' literature by Jacobson

Of course, if the real purpose is to increase Emacs acceptance among
the unconverted, you may want to consider a 'foot in the door'
approach as opposed to a total replacement.

Perhaps a simpler project would be to make Emacs a 'really cool
program launcher' that would launch Browsers, Explorer Windows, music
media players etc. from text file entries.  This functionality already
exists in Emacs.  This might be saleable because a user can setup a
text file to contain important URLS, filenames, shortcuts along with
explanatory/searchable text in a way that hasn't been done by M$.

Richard V. Molen

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