Chapter 11: Text Processing

Chapter 11: Text Processing


Secrets in This Chapter

  • Learning ed

  • Moving around the Buffer

  • Inserting and Deleting Text

  • Searching and Replacing

  • Copying and Moving

  • Running a Shell in GNU Emacs

  • Trying an Existing man Page

  • Writing a Sample man Page

  • Preparing Documentation with DocBook

Text processing refers to all aspects of creating, editing, and formatting textual documents. The simplest form of text processing is preparing a plaintext file, which you need to do often, because most Red Hat Linux configuration files are plaintext files. For this purpose, Red Hat Linux offers a choice of text editors, ranging from the UNIX standard, vi, to the very powerful GNU Emacs.

To prepare formatted text in Red Hat Linux, you must use a markup language such as groff or DocBook. Using a markup language, you place special formatting commands in a plaintext file, and a formatting program processes the marked-up text file to generate the formatted document for printing or viewing. You may already be familiar with a more recent markup language, HyperText Markup Language (HTML), which is as the standard document format on the World Wide Web.

Insider Insight 

Even if you use a Microsoft Windows- or Macintosh-based “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” application (often pronounced “whizzy-whig” for its abbreviation WYSIWYG) to prepare formatted text, you must learn the rudiments of a markup language if you want to prepare a man page—online Help text available through the man command.

This chapter describes the text-processing facilities in Linux. The chapter starts with the ed, vi, and GNU Emacs text editors, then it describes how to use the groff text-formatting program to prepare a man page. The chapter ends with a brief overview of the SGML- and XML-based DocBook markup language for document layout.