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I want to write for myself a very big comparison table for myself. I want to write all the equivalent features (rows) for the programming languages I know (columns). For example, how to iterate over an array, how to include a library, how to read a file, etc.. for Javascript, Python, Rust, C++, C, Swift, Julia, etc..

Ideally, there would be some formatting available in each cell, for example in Markdown, and multiple rows. But I need it to be big. And I'd very much appreciate an option to display only certain columns at will.

I looked into:

  • Word processors: they would be ideal for this task but the number of columns is too big and it creates problems. MS Word on a document on A1 paper could be good but '.doc' format is a bit heavyweight and difficult to manipulate outside of Word. Anyways, for my needs it can be 6/10. EDIT: The great majority does not handle well big pages, with the exception of Pages (see below)
  • Spreadsheets: they don't like multiple rows or too much formatting in the cells. Still it can be useful 5/10
  • Markdown editors: I know Joplin and Macdown but tables become a mess without the GUI and the GUI itself is buggy 4/10
  • Make my own software based on some database. This can answer all my needs but it takes time. I'd like to know if there is something ready to use.

I also looked into FileMaker and it seems ideal for this task. But it is a bit overkill and really expensive.

EDIT: So, I tried for now LibreOffice, OpenOffice, MS Word, ONLYOFFICE and Scribus. Spreadsheets would probably be good for some people but I don't like the interface and I have not explored the option thoroughly so bear with me. Anyways, there wasn't a single word processor that was not very buggy.

MS Word won't accept a page width of more than roughly 50 cm. LibreOffice will lose the formatting of the columns of the table if the page is too wide. OpenOffice is very primitive and crashes often, ONLYOFFICE will write wide pages in '.docx' files that will be unreadable by Word, or alternatively in '.odt' files that will lose the width property when they are read by itself (but interestingly they can be read fine by LibreOffice). Scribus is difficult to work with and copy/paste of tables doesn't work. Pages works fine but it is not compatible with the non-Mac world.

I started exploring doing my own thing, adapting the Suneditor javascript package to my own needs and offline work. I may publish that when it will be more ready. I hope this work will be useful to somebody.

So for now I wrote off most word processors and I am gearing towards a HTML-oriented solution, but Pages seems also a good option for only-Mac users and spreadsheets may also have potential.

I am still very open to suggestions

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  • HTMl is the way to go, and simple to learn - or you could find a visual HTML creator – Mawg says reinstate Monica Feb 2 at 10:40
  • Since you only asked this yesterday, it might be a little premature to edit your question to add your solution. However, if you are sure of it, please post (and accept) an answer, which will help others who read this question in future. Thanks – Mawg says reinstate Monica Feb 2 at 10:42
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    @MawgsaysreinstateMonica I reworded the edit to be less conclusive. I cannot write an answer till I can say I am really satisfied, so for now I am still very open to suggestions. It seems to me that HTML is really the way to go, but maybe there are pther ideas out there – Rafi Feb 2 at 14:21
  • Notion? It can do tables and complex formatting – VannTile Ianito Feb 4 at 17:44
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LibreWriter in .fodt format with a ridiculous page size. It does give you the option of hiding columns.

LibreCalc in .fods format. Here you can use CTRLEnter to insert newlines, and hiding columns is easy.

If you want paste a lot of lines into a single cell, you can make a text document with " before and after the text:

"
Here {
  you
} put;
the source
code
"

Select from " to ". Copy. Then select 'Edit > Paste Special' (CTRLSHIFTV). Choose 'Unformatted text' and click "[X] Format quoted field as text". This will keep the newlines, but not any formatting. You can format text after inserting it.

Remember to resize the cell after pasting (double click lower cell border).

The file format is an XML-format that is fairly human readable.

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