[pmwiki-users] Planning for 2.2.0

Joachim Durchholz jo at durchholz.org
Sun Sep 24 04:09:29 CDT 2006

Marc Cooper schrieb:
> Joachim Durchholz said...
>> Marc Cooper schrieb:
>>> I'd not heard of this, but its advocation of markup treating a line 
>>> break as a line break is enough to having me running a mile from it.
>> Why?
>> Actually I found that attractive.
> Because writers and typesetters use line breaks in their text for their 
> own purposes, but do not require the text to be presented with those 
> line breaks.

Sure, there are constructs where I want to have line breaks. (Longish, 
deeply structured directives etc.)

For stretches of word-wrapped texts, I once made efforts to put each 
"semantic unit" (sentence or group of words that have significant 
meaning) on its own line, to facilitate version control - and found that 
the gain was minimal (because changing a unit would all too often affect 
neighbouring units, too), but the result was more difficult to read.

So it might depend on context whether line breaks should be significant.
In YAML, they even allow the author to choose. There's markup for text 
blocks with significant line breaks, and markup for text blocks with 
insignificant line breaks. I don't know whether such a thing would be 
useful in PmWiki, but it's at least an interesting approach :-)

 > Wiki markup - like HTML and (La)TeX - are, in effect,
> typesetting languages.


> Also, consider performing a copy and paste from one tool to another 
> where this crazy rule applied.

Don't consider something "crazy" just because you didn't understand what 
it's good for.

 > You would have to re-edit the pasted text
> to correct all the line breaks.

Yup. That's what I currently have to do when importing mails into 
PmWiki. Or texts that I wrote in my text editor.

Face it, outside of wikis, line breaks are often significant in most 
contexts. While wikis are text formatting languages, they try to be 
*simple* and appeal to people who don't carefully distinguish between 
content and form (because they don't have to), and for these, making 
line breaks insignificant is just a pain in the a**.

> I'll send you the text of a novel on which to perform this task and I
> wager that you'll have changed your view before the end of chapter
> one.

Nope, I'm going to write a script for that task :-)

And I'd seriously recommend tool support for this kind of task. It may 
not be 100% perfect, but if I have to correct something at the end of 
every paragraph, it still did 90% of the chore.

> In addition, interpreting line breaks in this way would create a problem 
> with editors with hard text widths.

Oh, get a life. Even Notepad doesn't work that way (if it ever did). 
Even Big Blue machines come with Linux, or at least a Posix-conformant 
file system, so these systems aren't as intimately tied to fixed-length 
records as they used to be ten years ago.
Sure, you might still encounter sites with "legacy" toolchains that 
limit line lengths. But even these can use a tool to convert between 

> Other than WYSINWYG apps, writing tools don't behave in this way.

Which tools? I haven't encountered one of this kind in years, so I'm 
genuinely curious.

> I'd go as far as to say that the folk who advocated a "standard" syntax 
> for a text markup that includes this rule do not understand the most 
> basic aspects of the writing process - it's that bad a decision.

I have yet to see arguments to make this stance even remotely 
reasonable. This doesn't mean that such arguments don't exist, of course 
- I'm just too dense to see them myself.
So, please, give yours.


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