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I want to write a text with some basic styles and images. I plan to use it on a blog, maybe later in a wiki. And there should be a pdf version.

I am writing about a software. So there will be screenshots, code blocks and some inline styling.

I want to have the least possible styling/markup effort. Any tips or good tools?

I guess what I am looking for is a tool that does the style converting for me so I don't have to do the job.

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This question is fairly vague. Can you clarify? What is the piece about? Are you concerned with minimizing changes to visual formatting or to the content, or both? –  Neil Fein May 17 '11 at 12:55

4 Answers 4

I'd like to suggest Google Docs. It's a simple, usable word processor which allows you to "Download As" several formats (ODT, PDF, RTF, Text, Word, and HTML (zipped)). The only oddity is in the content licensing.

Essentially, you're granting Google rights to redistribute your work free of royalties "for the sole purpose of enabling Google to provide you with the Service in accordance with the Google Docs Privacy Policy.".

You do, however, maintain copyright. (See Google Docs Additional Terms).

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I highly recommend learning TeX and LaTeX. TeX is the typesetting system created by Donald Knuth. TeX can be converted to HTML, PDF, and countless other formats with ease. Personally, I use LaTeX, which is a bunch of macros and extensions to TeX that let you avoid a lot of work by combining a group of commands commonly used together into one.

To learn TeX and LaTeX, I'd start by visiting the TeX User Group and trying one of their excellent tutorials. I highly recommend A First LaTeX Document and The Not So Short Introduction To LaTeX2e in particular.

Also, Mr. Knuth himself wrote The TeXbook, which is the first part of his Computers and Typesetting set.

Don't forget to ask lots of questions at Stack Exchange's own TeX and LaTeX site.

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I would suggest Markdown. It may be a bit geeky (I'm a programmer/designer.), but it's what I write everything in now. It's a minimal syntax markup that you write in plain text, and then can convert it to HTML, and others. It's often used by bloggers, since a lot of the blogging software out there will let you write in Markdown, and then the blog system will convert it to the correct HTML to display on one's blog.

Mr. Gruber created this, and here's the syntax page: http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax

You'd need an editor that understands Markdown and can convert it to other things (HTML/PDF), and I use Scrivener. It's so good. Export to many formats from Markdown. It can "compile" your plaintext work in Markdown into other formats.

Additional references:

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Is there Scrivener alternative on for Windows/Linux? –  galymzhan Jun 5 '11 at 4:58
    
There is a Scrivener for Windows - literatureandlatte.com/scrivenerforwindows –  program247365 Jun 5 '11 at 16:51
    
Markdown is nice for web publishing, but it won't generate nice PDFs without additional intervention. –  HedgeMage Jun 13 '11 at 18:40
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@HedgeMage Correct. You'd need something like Pandoc - johnmacfarlane.net/pandoc –  program247365 Jun 16 '11 at 13:59

Any single-sourcing scheme is going to require some up-front setup in exchange for easier generation of multiple formats later. This Wikipedia page provides a starting point for process and tools.

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Thanks. Knowing the correct term is already a big help. –  David Bopp May 19 '11 at 15:06

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