Sunday, May 4, 2014

Comparison of ConstEdit v1.11 with other word processors

A table comparing the features of ConstEdit and those of common word processors can now be found in the Features page. It is also given below for your quick reference. Also a new version of ConstEdit is to be published very soon.

featureConstEdit v1.11*Common word processors
Features comparison between ConstEdit and common word processors
User Interface
Single-window multi-tabbed (each file is opened under its own file tab in a single app window so that the taskbar won't get over-crowded)✔✘ supported by some word processors but not all; many are using the multi-window approach with one window per file
Conventional menu and toolbars✔ toolbar button size is automatically adjusted to fit window width; there is no unused space in the toolbars✔ some uses the more sophisticated ribbons in place of toolbars, but which occupies more screen space than toolbars
Shortcut keys
File formats supported for editingHtml, plain text (both of these formats are supported by common web-browsers in all platforms)odt, rtf, doc, docx, html, plain text are the commonly supported file formats (only html and plain text formats are directly supported by common web-browsers; all other formats are viewable only by using dedicated web-browser add-ons or using dedicated viewers or with the word processor itself)
Privacy-related metadata such as author and company name✘ ConstEdit does not store any metadata regarding privacy✔ you have the choice whether or not to store such metadata in the document, though the data can be passed on  unnoticed and unintentionally
Word count
Compare documents
Recent-files list✔ You can select multiple files from the recent-files list. The selected files are restored to the last editing/viewing position upon opening (this feature requires ConstEdit v1.11.2000 or above)
Export as pdf✘ ConstEdit supports only exporting to the web-archive .mht format or the complete html format
Print Preview / Print / Page Setup
Create blog post✘ you can copy the html code of the selection to the clipboard to facilitate blog authoring✔ only available in the more sophisticated word processors
Email✔ only available in the more sophisticated word processors
Fax✔ only available in the more sophisticated word processors
Print/Page layout view
Web layout view
Full-screen mode
Show / hide toolbars
Document Structure
Support of "section" (this is the common understanding of section in a document, i.e. a portion of the document content, not the section that defines the beginning of some page formatting style as is quoted in many word processors)✔ ConstEdit uses the common understanding of section, which is independent of the styles formatting of its content.

✔ The scope and the level of a section in most word processors is implied from the heading style that is applied to some text.

Insert section✔ In ConstEdit, the action is very intuitive : select the "Insert Section" item.✔ Not intuitive : you choose the heading style that corresponds to the section level.
Automatic and multi-level numbering of section headings✔ The numbering is done automatically for the section level according to the stylesheet applied to the document. No user action is required.✔ you need to specify the numbering style
Section demote / promote / move up / move down✔ drag-and-drop is also supported in the Sections Outline View
Generate Table Of Content
Visualization of document structure✔ the Sections Outline View supports drag-and-drop for you to change the structure easily
Spell-Checker✔ not available in Windows 7
Auto-correct for spelling✔ not available in Windows 7
Auto-convert from abbreviations
Grammar checker✔ you'd better be the one to judge the reliability of such checking
Bibliography✔ only available in the more sophisticated word processors
Graphics editing✔ only available in the more sophisticated word processors
Math/Equation ✔ only available in the more sophisticated word processors
Mark changes while editing
Text direction (ltr / rtl)
Paragraph move-up / move-down / indent / outdent / align
Bulleted list / numbered list
Figure / diagram
Auto-numbering of table / figure / footnote
Audio / Video✔ The attached audio and video can be played back directly in ConstEdit when the file is opened as read-only, or when the file is opened in Internet Explorer, or in other web browsers depending on their compatibility.✔ only available in the more sophisticated word processors
Smart quote
Endnote✔ the "footnote" as in ConstEdit is actually endnote with cross-reference
Cross-referencing✘ but you can achieve similar result by inserting a link to bookmark
Comment / annotation
Link (hyperlinks, links to files, links to bookmarks)
Multi-column layout✔ may not be supported by some web-browsers
Change case
Insert symbol
Insert quick text (inserting a string of predefined text)✘ not difficult to implement but not available in most word processors; or maybe this is a useless feature to most users except me
Insert fields, such as date✘supports inserting current date text only; no variable field is supported
Insert pagebreak
Find and Replace through all opened documents✘ Not supported in most word processors.
Go to a particular section / bookmark / link in the doc✔ you may need to set up a cross-reference in order to achieve this
Format copying
Separation of content and layout / styles formatting✔ The styles formatting of the whole document can be changed by simply applying a different stylesheet. The content and document structure are not affected in any way. Styles formatting is not "burnt" into the document content. ✘ The styles formatting is "burnt" into the document content. Changing the styles of the content can even affect the document structure.
Automatic styles formatting✔ Styles formatting is done automatically according to the stylesheet that is applied to the document. Element types (section, sub-section, heading, paragraph, bulleted list, numbered list, etc) are styled to the desired look on-the-fly automatically while these element types are inserted into the document. You can concentrate on the content authoring part.✘ In most conventional word processors, styles formatting must be done at the same time of content authoring. You need to specify the styles explicitly and repeatedly to give the document the desired look because content is not separated from styles formatting. A large portion of the effort of writing a document is spent on styles formatting.
Document, section, paragraph, object, table, text "inline" styles formatting✔ when there is a need to override the stylesheet styling, you can still choose to apply styles that are burnt into the content
Text highlight marker
Designing customized stylesheets✔ you can design your own stylesheets to be used for your documents with the Design Html Stylesheet option in Settings
Translate✔ only available in the more sophisticated word processors
Data binding✔ only available in the more sophisticated word processors
Macro ✔ only available in the more sophisticated word processors

* the mentioned features of ConstEdit are mostly applicable only to html documents, not plain text.

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