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[Orgmode] definition lists in org-mode

From: Eddward DeVilla
Subject: [Orgmode] definition lists in org-mode
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2007 17:01:51 -0500

Hi all,

   I was wondering if anyone has a good way to embed definition list
into a plain list?  I think they'd be nifty.  OK, to be honest, I'm
trying to solve a problem specific to the way I do things and try to
make the solution seem more general.  Specifically, I'm using a
checkbox list to represent questions and little research items for
projects, like so:

* WORKING project
*** Investigate
    - [X] Can we do this -- Yes
      Bob say it's OK.
    - [ ] Do we need to do that

What I'm after here is a short statement of the question, possibly a
short statement of the answer, and the details under it so I can hide
the detail with visibility cycling on plain lists.  I already kind of
do this, but it goes horribly wrong when every I try to use ESC-Q to
re-wrap the item.  Don't get me wrong, I'd use a plain definition list
too if it were there.  This is just the nit that triggered all this.

Now first off, I know I could get most of what I want if I were to
switch to use outline entries instead of a plain list.  Heading don't
wrap.  That just seems wrong though.  It's a list.  I'd have to
replace the simple checkboxes with TODO keyword (which isn't so
unreasonable now that we can have multiple sequences) and I've been
using the outline entries to represent document sections, projects and
project sub headings.  If I start using todo items here, then I'll
have to start using something more complicated that the agenda-todo
list to get my projects and not the sub steps under them.  I could
just be I have to change how I do things.  That's not always bad.

I also know I could make the answer a sub-bullet.  I do it when I need
to, but it's not visually appealing.  It looks like a sub list when it
just being used to prevent word-wrap.  Likewise I sometimes use ':' if
the answer is one line.  This isn't so bad, if the answer is one line.
If I ever become an avid user of the publishing feature, my thought
might change on that.

Getting back to definition lists, I recently saw rst
(reStructuredText) and found it interesting.  I like it's feature set
in general and I like that most of the features I like were already in
org-mode though maybe with a different syntax.  Two features that that
jump out at me were the definition lists and and the fields lists.  (I
also like the options list, but its obviously only for parameter
lists.  I guess I'm list oriented.)  Interestingly, the field lists
look like multi-live versions of org-mode's properties.

The definition list just looked like a nice way to represent my
outstanding/answered questions.  I've always thought that, but I
didn't realize they could solve my question formatting problem before
now.  They also looks like another great way to organize miscellaneous
info.  The rst definition list provide the term, the definition and
and optional list of classifiers on the term.  I didn't ever think of
having classifiers but I like them.

I guess this gets me to my question(s)?  Would anyone else find
definition lists useful?  Is there already a good way to do definition
list and/or my question lists that I'm just missing?  If having
definition lists is a good feature to add, how should it be added?
I'd like to see it be something that can be embedded in a plain list
but I could get by with it if that isn't reasonable.  I think we need
to be able to have regular text, sub-lists, tables, etc in the
definition though.  What syntax would work?  I was inspired by rst,
but I think rst is too different from org-mode to adopter their

Sorry to bring this up right on the heels of properties.  That is
going to need to settle down some I'm sure.  Things just clicked when
I was reading upon rst and I figured I'd forget about it shortly.  For
those who are curious about what rst is, it looks like a plain text
readable mark that can be processed into other pretty print markups.
Seems, kind of like html, but comfortably readable in source form.   I
put links to it (and it's definition lists) below.



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