10.2 Structured Editing And Templates

Editing documents based on the inherent structure present in the electronic encoding can be very efficient when using spoken interaction. We described mode AUCTeX — a specialized interface to authoring LaTeX documents as a special instance of such structured editing in see Document Authoring.

The Emacspeak desktop allows the user to efficiently author and maintain an electronic document based either on the structure present in the markup (as in the case of mode AUCTeX) or on special outlining constructs that allow the user to impose a desired logical structure on the document. This section describes the effect of speech-enabling such editing tools and points out the advantages in using these in a speech oriented interface.

Template-based authoring — a technique that allows the user to create a document by inserting contents into appropriate positions in a predefined template — goes hand in hand with such structured editing. Finally, structured editing can vastly simplify the creation and maintenance of structured data, for example, the data present in a UNIX password file. Such data files are in fact nothing more than a collection of database records, where each record (or line) consists of a set of fields delimited by a special character. Maintaining such files without exploiting the underlying structure often tends to be error prone. We describe editing modes that can exploit such record structure to provide a fluent editing interface. Finally, we outline a speech-enabled interface to a spreadsheet application as a complex instance of such structured data editing.