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Re: Line breaks

> From: Norman Walsh <>
> | <aside>Er..uhmm..I am asking these questions in the assumption
> | that a request for including something like "newline" 
> | in DocBook would be a vain one - though "newline" is, 
> | is it not, structural information?<duck/></aside>
> No, it's purely presentational. What semantic meaning does it
> have?  And how do you propose to implement your markup on a PDA
> or speaking cell phone? At least with a variablelist, you can
> identify the terms and imagine doing something else for limited
> display environments.

I'm certain you are not saying that all line breaks
are purely presentational.  After all, Docbook supplies 
<literallayout> and <programlisting> to preserve line
breaks where they have semantic meaning, such as
poetry and program code.

The context I have seen authors use ad hoc newlines are
usually something equivalent to <para role="weak">.  That
is, "end of that thought, start a new thought", but not a
full paragraph break.  I know it seems like a fine
distinction in the abstract, but it is important to the
author in that context.  When I tell authors that they have
to wrap their content in <literallayout> to preserve that
line break, I get ugly looks because they don't want to
preserve all line breaks, just that one.

This issue comes up most often in converting to
Docbook some content from another markup language such as
HTML that has the concept of <newline>.  If you are
converting the content of a table cell, for example, you
have to first scan the entire contents of the table cell to
see if it contains a <newline> to decide if you should wrap
the cell content in <literallayout> or not.

Bob Stayton                                 400 Encinal Street
Publications Architect                      Santa Cruz, CA  95060
Technical Publications                      voice: (831) 427-7796
The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc.              fax:   (831) 429-1887

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