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This page (revision-40) was last changed on 26-Sep-2007 09:31 by ChuckSmith  

This page was created on 23-Feb-2007 03:55 by RadomirDopieralski

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At line 121 added 33 lines
I really try to think outside the box, that's why I enumerated all the sane markups I can think of -- no matter how wrong they seem to me.
I don't think we need a general escape character -- the ambigous lists is the only place where it is required (headings and tables are required to start at the first column, so it's easy to escape them with space, like in pre block, you don't even have to explain it in the spec). I can't even see a sane way of actually implementing the escape character -- looking at the examples on the proposal pages, the escape character doesn't apply to a single character -- but to an undefined, context-dependet piece of text. Escape character also introduces something pretty evil: markup that has no visible effect on the rendered page. Really, pleasy go and try to explain the idea of an escape character to a non-programmer.
As for indenting lists for nesting -- I don't really advocate it, I've already written that it's unacceptable in Creole. It just gives the best appearance. But you are wrong about the space-counting thing, actually so wrong, that I suspect you did it on purpose. You don't have to count single spaces and match the indentation perfectly -- you can MakeTheMachineWorkHarder and just recognize **changes** in indetation, not the exact amount of spaces used. This works very well in MoinMoin and other wikis that use this technique. That's just for the record, as it's **not** going to be used in Creole anyways (I think).
Now, for the "speciality" of the cases. Have you recently read any non-technical book? One that has some action? I do sometimes read such books, and I also read various stories published on the Internet, often in wikis. A good, dialogue-packed story has more than 70% of paragraphs starting with a hyphen. Look at **this** particular wiki. Every other page has about 25% of paragraphs starting with a hyphen. I don't think there is a **single** use of an asterisk other than to show the actual asterisk in the text here.
I don't mind using **single** hyphens for lists -- it is so normal and common that it even has its own name: "hyphenated list". It's the use of multiple hyphens for nested lists that I'm opposing -- it's a totally new invention -- there is **exactly one** wiki that uses it on wikimatrix.org: PukiWiki. It looks horrible. I could look at it and think for hours and never guess it's a list. It conflicts with markups for singature, en-dash, em-dash, and horizontal line -- not to mention the Markdown-like headings, if one aims for a mixed mode. Finally, it looks **extremely** ugly. And beauty is very important when you want passionate users who contribute their hard work just because they like it. Ugliness really **reduces user performance**, I can point you to actual usability experiments.
Looking at the wikimatrix.org I can see that actually two wiki engines use the "different bullet for different levels" approach: SnipSnap and LunaWiki. Also, two wikis use a "exotic" character for lists: ProntoWiki and PodWiki. And I see one approach I didn't think of: WikkaWiki uses hyphens that can be "indented" with a visible charcter, tilde. One can imagine periods or colons used in similar manner. Ok, this is ugly too :)
I believe that good list markup should have following features:
* The users should be able to tell what the particular thing is, without a need to read user manual or experimenting -- just by looking at it. And without having to scroll to see the start of the list. This works good with single-level lists made with hyphens or asterisks. It also works good with indented lists. Repeated bullets are just alien and artifical. This feature I view as **the most important**.
* The list must be easy to navigate -- first with one's eyes, then with the cursor. It must be easy to lacte the end of an item and beginning of a next one -- and also the beginning and end of the whole list. Asterisk alone is bad at this, as it has text color similar to an average letter -- at least in fonts made for reading prose, not coding. Hyphen is not good too -- it appears very frequently in the body of text. You can either use a character with some very dark or very light color, or lighten it using whitespace. Indented lists do marvelous job here too.
* The list must be easy to edit. This means changing the order and nesting level of items, moving items between different lists, turning paragraphs into lists and vice versa. This also partially relies on navigation, but also on the number of characters used, complexity of the markup, availability of keys on the keyboard. Here indentation does a horrible job, but multiplying the list bullet is not really much better.
These three points are my main concerns. If we could limit the nesting level of lists to two, I woud't hesitate, and would recommend this:
* first list item
* second list item
- first sublist item
- second sublist item
* third list item
- first sublist item
It's actually **the most popular** markup for (not numbered) lists I've seen in text files when nested lists were involved. The other, even more popular approach, was to use numbered (or otherwise enumerated) list mixed with bullet list. Or a numbered list with several levels of numbering, like 1.2.4. Note how the compulsory space after the bullets increase readability and navigability immensely. But this nice apprach breaks if you need more nesting levels. Introducing additional bullet characters, like "+", "@", "%", ".", "~" is artifical. Indentation is evil. Repeating hyphens is ugly.
Please tell me if I'm repeating myself :)
-- RadomirDopieralski, 2007-02-23
Version Date Modified Size Author Changes ... Change note
40 26-Sep-2007 09:31 32.753 kB ChuckSmith to previous restore
39 26-Sep-2007 01:03 32.766 kB to previous | to last
38 21-Apr-2007 15:24 32.753 kB ChristophSauer to previous | to last refactoring: moved annunc from talk to here
37 17-Apr-2007 11:02 31.894 kB YvesPiguet to previous | to last BBEdit and TextWrangler do hard wrap
36 14-Apr-2007 10:42 31.148 kB ChristophSauer to previous | to last added link to linebreak argument on lists on relevant discussion
35 03-Apr-2007 12:09 30.974 kB to previous | to last No nested lists.
34 22-Mar-2007 16:19 30.741 kB ChuckSmith to previous | to last reply to Yves about ##
33 22-Mar-2007 12:30 30.352 kB YvesPiguet to previous | to last List indenting
32 22-Mar-2007 12:03 29.945 kB RadomirDopieralski to previous | to last people commonly indent lists
31 22-Mar-2007 10:12 29.552 kB YvesPiguet to previous | to last Clarification
30 22-Mar-2007 09:33 29.004 kB MicheleTomaiuolo to previous | to last emphasis on whole par
29 21-Mar-2007 20:22 28.809 kB YvesPiguet to previous | to last What about sharp?
28 21-Mar-2007 18:26 27.975 kB ChristophSauer to previous | to last keep
27 21-Mar-2007 18:24 27.894 kB ChristophSauer to previous | to last keep
26 21-Mar-2007 18:24 27.89 kB ChristophSauer to previous | to last keep
25 21-Mar-2007 16:51 26.853 kB YvesPiguet to previous | to last Reject
24 08-Mar-2007 17:21 26.285 kB YvesPiguet to previous | to last Thanks
23 08-Mar-2007 17:16 26.239 kB RadomirDopieralski to previous | to last experiments
22 08-Mar-2007 16:47 25.568 kB YvesPiguet to previous | to last Experiment feedback?
21 08-Mar-2007 16:19 25.284 kB RadomirDopieralski to previous | to last single hyphens only
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