The ideal writing application is emacs, at least for me. In the absence of emacs (as on a tablet,) I've been thinking about what features I actually need in a writing application. While I've grown to admire the power of a full Lisp machine in my text editor, I accept that it's not, strictly speaking required. Here's a first stab at the list of requirements. Feel free to comment or submit a patch to this page.

  • Simple, primarily full screen editing.
  • The ability edit very large files, 100kbs should present no issue.
  • Some sort of syntax highlight during the editing process, preferably support for LaTeX, Markdown, and org-mode.
  • Word count generation for the entire files and for current selections.
  • Auto-save as crash protection.
  • Undo/Redo last typing action.

Nice to have (but not crucial) features:

  • The ability to edit one file and reference another (or potentially edit) at the same time. Bonus points for being able to switch between to parts of a single file at once.
  • The ability to hide or collapse some sections of a file.
  • Optional spell checking.
  • Parenthetical and double-quote matching.
  • Soft and hard line/word wrapping.

Other than that I don't think there's anything that I really need to have to get writing done 90% of the time. How about you?