[Doc-SIG] Alternative inline markup

Tony J Ibbs (Tibs) tony@lsl.co.uk
Fri, 9 Nov 2001 11:17:38 -0000

Ka-Ping Yee wrote:
> On Fri, 9 Nov 2001, Tony J Ibbs (Tibs) wrote:
> > And I *do* think (from historical experience) that *deciding* how to
> > treat nested inline markup is difficult - I have generally
> > had a very laissez-faire attitude to the problem (so I would allow
> > almost anything that might make sense to someone, and expect the
> > parser to cope), whereas David and Edward Loper have had a much
> > stronger wish to be able to *describe* in a simple manner what
> > is and is not allowed.
> I agree with the latter position.  My two cents, in short:
>     If you have to run the system in order to know exactly
>     what output you will get, the system design is broken.

Oh, I agree with that as well, but that isn't *quite* what I was trying
to say (words - great for communicating, but somehow not sufficient to
get meaning across).

David and Edward have seemed (to me) to want to determine formal rules
first, and work outwards from them.

Whereas I have wanted to establish what people expect to work, and work
the formal rules out backwards from that (possibly not explicitly).

This tends to mean that I believe constructs like ``***fred* some text
*jim***`` are required to be allowed a priori, and that if this is
difficult to implement, then tough. But it does land me in difficulty
explaining what I actually want!

And my favourite example of why nested inline markup is going to be
difficult to decide is now::


- is that an interpreted literal, or a literal with single backquotes at
each end? And if it is one, how does one get the other? (this is *much*
more interesting than triple asterisks).

*Maybe* (just maybe) this is an insoluble problem, in the general case.
Which would mean that use cases to define what is *actually* needed (if
anything) become essential.

(sorry - I'm actually concentrating on something else in the background,
so forgive any vagueness)

Tony J Ibbs (Tibs)      http://www.tibsnjoan.co.uk/
"No one trike will do everything... buy the whole set!" - Rob Hague
My views! Mine! Mine! (Unless Laser-Scan ask nicely to borrow them.)