Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why I Prefer Nisus Writer

Joe Kissell:

Things turned around in 2011 with the release of Nisus Writer Pro 2.0. This was the first version of Nisus Writer to include both change-tracking and comments, plus most of my favorite features from Nisus Writer Classic and a bunch of new capabilities. All of a sudden I had my old toolkit back, in a modern package. It was as though I’d been limited to a machete and an open fire for all my cooking needs, and then walked into a fully equipped restaurant kitchen. In the years since, it has grown even more capable and reliable.

Eventually Take Control Books switched its entire operation over to Nisus Writer Pro, and I’ve already used it to write half a dozen books, plus new editions of several older titles. As an author, I can’t overstate how much Nisus Writer Pro improves not only my productivity but also my attitude toward writing. It’s fun again, and I no longer feel as though I must constantly fight with my word processor.

I really like Nisus Writer, but these days almost all of my writing is in reStructuredText (to be processed for product documentation), direct HTML (for online), plain text notes (for syncing with my iPhone), or in Word or Google Docs (for collaboration). Nisus Writer just doesn’t seem to fit in, though I still find it invaluable for the occasional project where I need to process lots of styled text.

2 Comments

Hi Michael,

Delighted to see you use reStructuredText for documentation. I use it for writing longer articles and (so far) half an academic book. It seems to be much more capable than Markdown with many more structural elements and very well aligned with the sort of things I like to do in LaTeX/XeTeX.

But I'm always on the lookout for better ways to use reST, especially for longer documents that have front-matter, chapters, internal references, glossary entries etc. If you've got any recommendations on e.g. Sphinx for non-coder uses of reST I'd love to hear them.

Best,

Peter

@Peter I’m just using the standard elements with some customized Docutils writers for HTML and LaTeX. Each document has one main file, using include:: for sections that are common between documents and replace:: for some repeated elements. I use the built-in feature for internal references.

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