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Re: [docbook] How to display a directory tree

Thank you very much for this quite detailed reply.

I agree that variablelist is strangely named. For instance I usually use it in <refentry> sections to explain the use of the options supported by a command line utility.

Thanks again,


On Wed, 20 Apr 2005 11:45:58 -0700, John L. Clark <> wrote:

On Wed, Apr 20, 2005 at 02:06:33PM -0400, Stefan Seefeld wrote:
> I wonder if there is a set of tags to represent a directory tree, with
> the  files included. The main purpose is for system administrators who
> want to  explain where some file are, and to give an explanation for
> each file.

I have used 'tree' in combination with <screen> to do that.

What is this 'tree' you speak of?

As for myself, I've used nested variablelists to achieve this sort of
semantics.  I treat each varlistentry as a directory entry, the (first)
term in a varlistentry as the name of the entry, and the listitem as a
description and an optional further directory expansion (using the same
variablelist structure).  For example:


        <para>Common directory for shared user resources on UNIX


              <!-- etc... -->

I haven't messed with the formatting, but I can imagine how one could
format this in a number of ways to look like a directory list.  Upon
reflection, it seems reasonable to me to specify the role attribute for
such variablelists (role="directoryList") or somesuch.

Alternatively, this may be a lot cleaner with a standard itemizedlist or
simplelist when used with the new term definition structure in
DocBook-NG[0] [1].

Tangentially, this brings up a slight nit that I have with DocBook.  I
think that the variablelist element is misnamed.  I think the idea of
the "definition list" that is present in HTML is a closer fit to the
common uses of this type of list.  In a hypothetical definition list,
one could still "define" variables (and so we can still represent
variable lists), but we can also "define" anything that requires
defining (such as the structure of a directory in this case).  But of
course, such a change would be Significantly Backwards Incompatible(tm).

Take care,

John L. Clark



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