It is perhaps plain as its adjective suggests:
- No aesthetics;
- No obvious benefit as it lacks a navigational structure; and even more,
- No appeal.
So why would one take his or her time to even consider thinking about
the possibility of working with plain text?
This post is going to show you why plain text, rather than rich
text, is the foundation of the information age.
What it is
Plain text is text without any aesthetics: which means it is not
bolded nor is it italicised to convey meaning.
When stored in a file, it often has the file extension .txt (for
text). This is especially true on Windows where file extensions play a
major part in picking a file handler. However, other extensions can be used, or none at
all on *Nix-based platforms.
Almost every word-processing application, such as Microsoft Word,
Libre Office or Emacs can open a plain text document. However, below,
we will be listing the default plain text editors that come built into
|Default Program||Operating System|
|TextEdit||Mac OS X|
Practical Uses of Plain Text
You cannot write your essay or assignment using plain text, unless you
want to process it further as will be discussed below.
Due to its simplicity and plainness, text is so expressive that it can
be used to do such things as
- Writing Source Code
- Every program that you run on your computer
is first written as source code. That is to say, code that is
human-readable. It uses some form of programming language, be it
compiled or interpreted, to be translated into machine-readable
code. Plain text is used to achieve this as what you see on the
screen is what is written in the file. Unlike rich text
documents, where what appears on the screen may be a result of
some background instruction you are not seeing.
- Creating Document Markup
- Markup refers to a set of codes that
have to be interpreted by a host such as a browser for
presentation. Markup is at the heart of rich text documents. In
future posts, I will discuss some of the popular markup languages
as a series.
- Taking down notes
- Due to its simplicity, plain text takes less
time to load. In fact, plain text editors have low memory
footprint as compared to their rich text cousins. That lends them
well for quick notetaking and todo lists.
This post introduced you to the world of plain text. In future posts,
we will be looking at what you can do with plain text, especially as
someone with visual impairment, the benefits you can reap in
preferring text over rich text.
Let me take this opportunity to announce that this blog will be
changed to focus more on text-processing. We will be covering
everything from opening text, searching text and even working with
Be safe, and thanks for reading this post.