[Doc-SIG] using the same delimiter on the left and right..

Guido van Rossum guido@digicool.com
Wed, 28 Mar 2001 11:59:18 -0500

> So then we would have the following
> reserved characters, that may not appear in text without
> being quoted somehow:
>     '<'    left delimiter for URLs
>     '>'    right delmiter for URLs
>     '#'    delimiter for inlines
>     '`'    delimiter for literals
>     '*'    delimiter for emph, maybe for strong.
>     '::'   marker for literal regions

Yuck.  Most of these (except '::') are quite commonly used for other
purposes, and occur frequently in examples.  I prefer markup languages
with very few special characters, e.g. a GNU doc standard whose name I
don't recall, which only uses @; or Perl's POD, which seems to get
away with making only a letter followed by '<' special.  Latex has at
least three special characters ('\', '{', '}'), and in some contexts
more, and that's already a pain.  XML with '<' and '&' is borderline
for me.

> Then the only context-dependant characters that remain would
> be start-list-item characters..  And if we wanted to, we could
> use '* ' at the beginning of any list item, since it's 
> reserved anyway... something like:
>     * this is an unordered list item
>     *1. this is an ordered list item

This is OK, although I like the single hyphen form better.

> Well.. I'm not sure whether we'd want to do that or not.. We
> may be happy with just using '1.' and assuming that no one will
> start a line with a number that ends a sentence..

That was ST's the original sin.

> But I
> think that reserving the delimiter characters might still be
> a good idea..
> Does this sound like a reasonable direction to go?  It
> at least seems to me to be closer to a "real" markup language..

I can't endorse this yet.

--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)