[Doc-SIG] Proposal for indented sections in reStructuredText

Wolfgang Lipp lipp@epost.de
Thu, 14 Jun 2001 19:43:53 +0900 (Tokyo Standard Time)

Guido van Rossum <guido@digicool.com> wrote:
>I reject the argument that using indentation is Pythonic: text is not
>code, and different traditions and conventions hold.  People have been
>presenting text for readability for over 30 centuries.  Let's not
>innovate needlessly.
>I think allowing indented sections because it's popular is unpythonic:
>there should be only one way to do it.  Existing ST should be run
>through a converter.

Guido, isn't indentation in Python a needless invention, too? 
Programmers had gotten used to it as a redundant and semantically
insignificant, potentially even misleading device. The real thing,
for well over 3 decades, had been all curly and other braces, and 
'begin'/'end' blocks. It would have been logical to come up with a 
language (or return to such languages) where indentation is considered 
ungrammatical. Instead, curly braces and 'begin's and 'end's for blocks 
fell prey to an innovative re-interpretation. Indentation has since 
lost its misleading character and proven to be a valid, readable and 
low-redundancy way to express structure in code text. 

Others have extended this concept to replace markups in prose text. No
fully grammatical implementation has been worked out so far. Indented 
text is still in its inceptive stage with a, consequently, small user

I understand from the second paragraph that indentation stands a chance
only in so far as it is more popular than other devices to structure 
text. I agree. If a majority turns out to be in favour of a more liberal 
solution that allows more than one way, would that beat TSBOOWTDI, or is 
TSBOOWTDI even above that?