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Develop a custom word processor

I have an idea for a desktop app that's basically like a word processor but it would support a special set of markup or notation.  One example is that you would be able to "overline" selected text in addition to the standard underline that normal word processors do. 

My background is more with web applications and databases so I'm not quite sure where to start with this.  Any ideas as to open source or commercial offerings that could serve as a starting point?
Friday, December 03, 2004
Don't re-invent the wheel.  Take a look at your actual requirements and think very carefully about using an existing word processor. 

After all, you don't really want to develop a word processor, just new markup.
Brady Kelly Send private email
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Not sure how close of a fit it is, but TXTextControl ( is a pretty fully formed word processor sold in the form of a component that you can utilize in any app royalty-free. Might be a great starting point.
--Josh Send private email
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Avoid developing a new word processor - it's most likely not worth it.

If all else fails, consider branching AbiWord, (and just looking at them in advance would give you an idea of how much work a wordprocessor really is).
Ori Berger Send private email
Sunday, December 05, 2004
The last two programs I paid for were specialty word processors.
Dennis Atknis
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
> The last two programs I paid for were specialty word processors.

Really? What did they do? I'm interested as a developer of writer's software.
Steve Cooper Send private email
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Steve, one was a desktop wiki thingy. The other was a Word like program that had better databaase integration than Word.
Dennis Atkins
Friday, December 10, 2004
JustACoder, I concur with Brady Kelly - don't. I have been in the happy position of being paid to write a word processor (the Unicode text layout system for the Symbian OS), and despite being given plenty of time and nearly all the design freedom I needed (apart from compatibility with existing APIs, which was a bitch to implement), it was still the most challenging task I have ever undertaken, and at times not very enjoyable. The sort of thing it's good to have done, not necessarily good to do.

But if you go ahead, remember that markup can sometimes change the size of the text that is marked up, causing a potentially indefinitely large amount of reformatting; and that if the markup has a distinct pattern or shape at the beginning and end (like a rectangle around the marked up text) you have to decide how to handle discontinuous selections in bidirectional text (Arabic, Hebrew, etc.), and... in short, it could end up being non-trivial.
Graham Asher Send private email
Tuesday, December 21, 2004

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