[pmwiki-users] Special monospace requirement

Allister Jenks zkarj at me.com
Thu Sep 20 17:57:59 CDT 2012

Hi folks.

Long time since I've been involved in this list as my old PmWiki installations just truck on without much attention these days. However I have started a new project in my current job - creating a team wiki where we can document process and reference material. I even got it running on our big-box server. :-)

That server is an IBM i system (most commonly know as AS/400 or iSeries) and this uses fixed 80x25 character monospaced display panels as its standard interface (it goes back many, MANY years). In our documentation, I wish to represent such display panels using markup rather than mucking around with images. This presents me with a problem because input fields on these panels are underlined. A typical entry prompt would look like this:

Name. . .: ____________________  Code. . . : __
Date . . : __________

If data is entered, the characters show up above the underline. I hope you get the idea. These labels and fields are placed potentially all over the 80x25 panel. Users fill out all the fields and press Enter (or a function key) to submit all the data that has been entered on the panel.

Now, I can easily copy all or a section of the panel as text, but the underline attribute is not part of the text (and PmWiki only accepts plain text anyway). Because it's so important to identify input capable fields, I *must* have it shown on my representation of the display. This is where things get tricky.

I've tried numerous tips and tricks to accomplish this, but at every turn something bites me and it fails to work. What I want is this:

Mark a block (perhaps with [@ and @]) which spans multiple lines. Within this block all whitespace and carriage returns are preserved. Some lines may start with one or more blanks or may be completely blank. All of the lines in a block need to display as a single block level element. BUT, I need to be able to mark up the underlined areas. Clearly this will get slightly ugly in the edit window as the nicely aligned text block will be put out of shape by whatever markup produces the underlines, but I can cope with that.

I'm comfortable with CSS to get things looking how I want but I have a lot of trouble sorting out the markup to make it generate what I want. The markup needs to be simple enough that the rest of my team can use it, too.

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