[pmwiki-users] Planning for 2.2.0

Crisses crisses at kinhost.org
Sun Sep 24 12:30:37 CDT 2006

On Sep 24, 2006, at 11:17 AM, Marc Cooper wrote:

> No, they are typographical tools; in the sense that they render  
> content
> to the author's demands. Wiki markup is not a text formatting tool;
> although text formatting is a subset of what it does.

I strongly disagree.  Pm Philosophy #1 declares PmWiki an authoring  
tool.   I've been using it as a writing tool for quite some time,  
well before 1.0, and always consider it an authoring and writing  
instrument, not a typographical tool.  It supports paragraphs and  
publishes them to the web.  Everything else is gravy.  Except keeping  
bad people from ruining my good work :)

Now -- the fact that I've been a writer since age 11 is probably why  
I consider it first and foremost a writing tool.  Computers came  
later, when I was 15 and begged my mom for a word processor cartridge  
for my C-64.  I've been auto-typing instead of auto-writing ever  
since.  At 15 I became a programmer, at 22 I started doing graphic  
design, typography, typesetting, etc.  Before that I couldn't care  
less what it looked like as long as my words were being recorded, now  
I couldn't care less as long as my words are being recorded and  
published. :)

It's when I'm doing anything else that I come out of the authoring  
mindset and craft recipes for PmWiki, help out people on the list, or  
consider extending the functionality of my own wikis.  I'm active at  
the moment because I have a client paying me to craft a wiki.  That  
will feed me so I may write another day ;)

> There is a difference between typography and text formatting.

Yes -- and typography (under the definition of the look of text, or  
the forming of lead plates used on a printing press if you want to be  
archaic) is not really what wikis do best.  Over the years, and with  
the invention of CSS(yay!) wikis do it better & better, but first  
they're an authoring and collaboration environment.  I don't care if  
the paragraph is indented in 12pt helvetica or full justified in  
times new roman (eww!).

CSS is for typography.  HTML and wikis should be for function over  
format. Call a header a header, and let the designer worry about  
whether the header is bold and blue or not.  The lovely part is that,  
if it's done right, you get a consistent "brand image" -- i.e. a look  
& feel that tells the viewer they're still on the correct website.

Perhaps the word you mean is typesetting?

>> 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**.
> You are making a sweeping generalisation in the first part of your
> sentence that is incorrect. Clearly, there are folk who have simple,
> basic needs that use wikis, just as there are those who wish to use  
> them
> in more demanding ways.

I definitely agree.

> The reason I used that example was to invite you to imagine the tasks
> involved in typesetting content of the scale of a book - just a novel,
> not a technical book, which is far more demanding. If you can't  
> imagine
> it, then download an example from Gutenberg and try it. You'll soon  
> find
> the tools that you need and why line break = line break makes your  
> task
> unimaginably awful.

I agree with that case.  I'm not looking forward to trying to typeset  
my poems to the wiki software.  There are times when  
linebreak=linebreak is certainly helpful.  Typing \\ at the end of  
every line could easily drive me crazy and YES I might build a script  
to help me out... or block out a whole entire wiki area with a  
GroupHeader (:linebreaks:)

> . But that is something entirely different to attributing
> semantic meaning to a line break. Once you do that, you can't undo it.
> That's the heart of the problem. That's why it's the wrong thing to  
> do.

This comment baffles me.  We're in a dynamic & fluid medium -- why is  
it that you can't undo something?  "attributing semantic meaning to a  
linebreak...you can't undo it" -- how a linebreak is treated by a  
program doesn't do anything irreversible to the semantics involved.

I almost wish there were a checkbox on the authoring page, it would  
remember your preferences, and you could turn whether it ignores  
linebreaks on & off.  The problem is whether it would reformat the  
pre-parsed text -- that would be a mess if I put in a poem and used  
the wrong setting :)

>>> 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.
> All typographical tools - any half decent editor can, of course, be
> configured to behave any which way. As I said, don't confuse text
> editing with typography.

I'm not sure where you're coming from.  InDesign/Illustrator/Quark?   
Vim/vi?  LaTeX?  I think the term typography is really throwing me  
off after being a graphic designer....

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