lapis documens

‘lapis documens’ is a play on ‘lapis philosophorum’ which is in turn a latin reference to the philosopher’s stone:

The philosopher’s stone (Latin: lapis philosophorum) is a legendary alchemical substance said to be capable of turning base metals (lead, for example) into gold(chrysopoeia) or silver. It was also sometimes believed to be an elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and possibly for achieving immortality. For many centuries, it was the most sought-after goal in Westernalchemy. The philosopher’s stone was the central symbol of the mystical terminology of alchemy, symbolizing perfection at its finest,enlightenment, and heavenly bliss. Efforts to discover the philosopher’s stone were known as the Magnum Opus.

Lapis documens is a text editor, in fact, quite a bit like code mirror, optimized for coding.  This means syntax highlighting, parsing, macros, REPL.  In fact, I want to champion the  idea of generating programs through as high a level of abstraction as is practical.  The UI would be an integration of an editor into the text, rather than the text into the editor as with every editor I can think of.  It would be more like a command prompt with very simple ways of generating and formatting content.  A command prompt that can be moved around, just as we move the cursor.

In fact, the cursor is simply the position of the command prompt.  Since the cursor will be completely a custom-built programmatic entity (a blinking div, probably) it can be an interface into any functionality I think fits its expanded role.

Imagine an html page that could be placed into edit mode.  Every visual element on the page can be navigated through, into the markup, the DOM, the styling, even javascript, perhaps, if certain conventions were followed.  Changes to the codebase, which, of course, can also easily be viewed as a flat text document (the other views are generated visual representations) are instantly reflected in the rendered page.

Perhaps you’re thinking of this in terms of a web designer, or something.  But I’m thinking of it in terms of a writer.  Perhaps I am alone or in a minority among writers, but I obsess over the “final layout”.  I can write, for instance, in this unformatted text box that WordPress provides.  But often, most of the actual reading of my post will happen in the blog itself.  Then a flurry of <edit> clicking occurs, which is a waste, finally.

I believe it is the holy grail of the writer to both create and revise in the medium of publication.  But historically the published polish has been prohibitively distracting to generate.  I think we are on the cusp of change, in this respect.

2 thoughts on “lapis documens

  1. […] (Tutorials building: tutorial creation tool Bootstrapps, Projenda,  Lapis Documens, Western Wizards, Psychlotron, […]

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