A few weeks ago I blogged about what digital format to use for a journal that would eventually be printed at some indefinite point in the future.

I was deliberating between odt and html. OpenOffice gave me essentially what I wanted, but I thought using a text file instead of a binary file might help out since I'm going to be adding lots of pictures (would rather have a pointer to them than embed them), and I can also do a diff of a text file.

Well, a kind reader recommended I look into reStructuredText and I'm glad he reminded me of it. (I've been meaning to check it out). I should add that I was thinking about using wiki markup as well (I would say wiki is to html what python is to java). But I think rst is actually a very good match for me. Here's what I like about rst:

  • I can edit in any text editor
  • The markup is really simple. Here's a template I made for myself:

    Jan 22, 2006

    Paragraph number 1.

    Paragraph number 2.

    .. figure:: /path/to/picture :width: 600

    Caption for picture

(The really nice thing here is the figure markup. It adds a bunch of div tags around the image and the caption, so if I want to do anything fancy with css it would be simple. I don't know how easy this is in wiki...). + I can open/import it in OpenOffice after I convert it to html (which consists of doing the following: rst2html.py journal.rst > test.html + I can export as tex if I feel the desire + I can spell check in emacs + The file size of my journal will stay relatively small. (I'm keeping backups of my pictures as well and the links should be easy to replace, since I have a straightforward numbering scheme for storing digital pics on my computer) + I can use it for creating an s5 slideshow for pycon...

Downsides? Well, I have to postprocess the file, before being able to preview in html.... Oh well, I like it so far.