[Doc-SIG] going awry

Guido van Rossum guido@digicool.com
Thu, 29 Mar 2001 12:08:56 -0500

> It doesn't help that I don't understand (myself) why people object to
> context sensitivity in markup in something like ST - what on earth is
> wrong with a single quote in the middle of a word being different than a
> single quote at the start of a word, or just before punctuation? We're
> all good at reading text - that means we don't even *see* such
> constructs AS SUCH - they're part of the "scanning interface" we run
> over lines. I mean, a person presented with 'this isn't difficult'
> doesn't have a particular problem with discerning that the middle quote
> is different than the others, and whilst I wouldn't propose *allowing*
> that as a quoted string in our format, it's nastier than the fringe
> cases people *are* worrying about.

Have you tried to use ST to document a language that happens to place
a special meaning on most of the ST special characters?  (Like ST
itself. :-)  It's horrid unless the rules are very clear and simple,
and there's a really easy way to turn ST's heuristics off -- and not
just in literal blocks (which are only half the solution).

> > I think the implementation-specific problems can be fixed by
> > the efforts we were seeing.
> There are some specific things about ST that *would* be nice to fix, and
> being free to do that (by dictatorial fiat) is a Good Thing. But I think
> throwing out the whole thing is not - it's been 5 years, dammit.

You know, that *could* mean that the problem is simply intractable,
and that we'd all do better by admitting that the only two real
options are real plain text or real markup...

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