>Flexing the Vex editor

>I’ve been doing more writing lately besides just blog posting. One of the problems I have with tools like Microsoft Office and Open Office is that it is very easy to mess up the presentation side of things. Especially when doing document exchange. There is no enforcement of style, and it gets messed up easily.

Some will say, I should just use a wiki, and while a wiki does ease the collaboration side of things a bit, it also still suffers from same issue with presentation. Some people will bold when they should italicize, links aren’t consistent, block quoting may be done differently, or template rules not followed consistently.

Which is why I tend to fall back to DocBook as my single-sourcing medium. The problem most people have with DocBook is that it has those darn xml tags and brackets. What if you could take something like this:


And instead work with it like this:


Giving you a true WYSIWYG type editor for your documents within your eclipse workspace? Oh and it’s free and open source. Vex uses CSS to style the text in the editor, so formatting is applied consistently. You create a CSS and then everybody uses that. The author only has to be concerned with content, not what style gets applied when. The image above is a DocBook version of the Eclipse Public License, and if interested you can follow along with it’s progress in bug 214683.

The Vex editor has come a long way since it was brought over to eclipse, and I’m encouraging Holger Voorman to ready an official 0.5 release from the incubator in the next couple of months. For those of you that are using WikiText to convert wiki pages to DocBook format, you may be interested in giving Vex a run. WikiText conversion is not necessarily 100% accurate, and you may still need to do some cleanup. Vex can help with that, and supports all the DocBook tags.

There is some missing functionality that still needs to be implemented, such as inline rendering of images, but the main functionality of text editing and updating is working like a dream.

The latest version of Vex can be installed as P2 Zip Repo from the hudson build machine at eclipse.org.

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This entry was posted in css, dita, docbook, documentation, eclipse, wiki, xml. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to >Flexing the Vex editor

  1. Eike Stepper says:

    >Hi Dave,I tried VEX a couple of years ago and I'm really looking forward to using a working version that comes from Eclipse.Do you know if there will be support for DITA, too?

  2. eclipsehowl says:

    >@Dave: Go :-)))@Eike: Yes. Vex has in-built DTD and CSS files for both DITA and DocBook.

  3. >kick ass dude!I may no longer have to leave Eclipse for documentation related things đŸ™‚

  4. Thomas says:

    >Hi Dave,great to have VEX in Eclipse.A long time ago I contributed to a project called deft[1] which is based on VEX. At this time I implemented image support for VEX which at least suited our needs. Feel free to have a look.[1] http://deftproject.org/

  5. David Carver says:

    >@Thomas Would you be interested in making a code contribution for Vex image support? Would be great to have.If so, file a bug and attach a patch.https://bugs.eclipse.org/bugs/enter_bug.cgi?product=WTP%20Incubator

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