W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-owl-wg@w3.org > October 2007

line breaks in wiki documents (was Re: editing documents in a

From: <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 03:25:08 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <20071023.032508.203250810.pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
To: sandro@w3.org
Cc: alanruttenberg@gmail.com, public-owl-wg@w3.org

From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
In-Reply-To: <18379.1193115437@ubuhebe>
References: <20071022.151632.118657967.pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
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From: "Sandro Hawke" <sandro@w3.org>
Subject: Re: editing documents in a wiki
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 00:57:17 -0400

> "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com> writes:


> > > > Note that the round-trip has to be able to produce
> > > > wrapped lines for editing and then not produce diffs related to
> > > > wrapping, unwrapping, or re-wrapping, or any artifacts of the
> > > 
> > > Is your concern here:
> > >     - you don't want some tool messing up where you-as-editor
> > >       put the line-ends?   The wiki shouldn't be a problem here.
> > > or  
> > >     - you want people to be able to see the changes for what they
> > >       are, not the changes in line-end placement caused by emacs
> > >       text?  The wiki diff tool sucks (IMHO), but there are
> > >       HTML diff tools we can use.
> > 
> > Well, this and more.  I want the wiki download mechanism to wrap
> > lines for me and not have line wrap changes show up in the diffs,
> > also have the line wraps in short line persist. (I could live
> > the last.)
> I still don't really understand.  I wouldn't expect any tool to mess
> with line breaks / wrapping.  The people editing the page just need to
> agree on some conventions -- ie keep margins < 80 columns and re-fill
> paragraphs as necessary, or don't use line-breaks inside a paragraph.

Some editing tools treat line-breaks as starting a new paragraph, some
don't.  Some editing tools auto-wrap long lines on display, some don't.
(Some may even auto-wrap paragraphs.)  Some editing tools automatically
add line-breaks to break up long lines, some don't.   

If anyone uses a tool that silently auto-wraps long lines on display,
then they won't be producing text with short lines because they will
never see the long lines.   If someone uses a tool that automatically
auto-breaks long lines, then they will be producing paragraphs with
internal line-breaks. 

So I expect that, without some help from the wiki software, or some very
strong social pressure, documents will have a mixuture of long lines and
line breaks.

> For myself, I prefer to keep margins < 80, and re-fill paragraphs as
> necessary.   I guess I can live with people doing it the other way.

I prefer margins about 75 and extra logical line-breaks, e.g., at the
ends of sentences, at least in text that will be reformatted for
display.  However, line breaks are significant in some wikis in some
places, so this treatment of line-breaks can cause problems.

> Within Wikipedia it looks like there is no consensus:
>    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Don%27t_use_line_breaks
> ... although that pages hasn't changed much in years.  Maybe some
> consensus has emerged and is not expressed there.
>      - Sandro

It turns out that newer versions of Emacs contain a mode (longlines)
that actually can work well no matter how the line-breaks are
distributed.  It even allows display of line-breaks to show you exactly
what is going on.  I just found out about this mode, so I guess in some
sense I care much less about the problem now than I did just 15 minutes

Received on Tuesday, 23 October 2007 07:32:57 UTC

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