My perfect writing environment


I've been on a quest for the perfect academic writing environment for some time. On a good day, the current bloated, wheezing incarnation of Word makes me grind my teeth, and on a bad one bystanders are well advised to remove all sharp objects from my vicinity. I'm always on the lookout, so when I saw Ulysses (also discussed on MacSlash), I had to download it and give it a go. It seems to get a lot right (though it's at an early stage of development), but it's not perfect for me, which could just be because I'm very demanding. Ulysses is slanted towards creative writers, but many of the features would also work well for academic writing. They make the point that novels are rarely written in one go, starting at the beginning, but I know of very few scientists who write papers in that way either.

So here are the elements of my perfect writing environment. Many editors/word processors have some of these, but none have all. Note that I'm talking about writing text not code, and formats which are editable (obviously, if no-one else needs to edit the file, a PDF file can be generated from any application in MacOSX).

I don't want much do I? If there are any developers out there keen to build the world's greatest academic writing environment, I'd be very happy to be an ultra-demanding beta tester. Otherwise, I'll just have to see if I can cobble together some kind of work flow with BBEdit, Applescripts and Perl scripts, with Word making an appearance at the last possible moment.