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Re: [O] Frontmatter / Text before first headline

From: Nicolas Goaziou
Subject: Re: [O] Frontmatter / Text before first headline
Date: Wed, 01 Feb 2012 14:43:04 +0100


Jambunathan K <address@hidden> writes:

> I have trouble understanding what the real purpose of the "text before
> the first headline" is. It looks to me more like a placeholder for
> capturing the "Frontmatter" [1].

If you're talking about the first section in the parse tree, the e-ascii
back-end makes use of it: even if that part of the document, links may
have to be collected and displayed before the first headline.

Also, "Frontmatter" probably only makes sense for large
documents. I sometimes write documents that doesn't even have an
headline. Should they be considered as one big frontmatter? Where would
be the matter, then?

> I have also trouble understanding what the rightful position for it is:
> Should it be like:
> (a) Title, Initial Text, TOC, Chapters
>       Or like
> (b) Title, TOC, Initial Text, Chapters
> Currently org-latex does a (b). 
> But if I look at an organization of a typical document, I am inclined to
> think that it should be (a). It is also my contention that Table Of
> Contents is relocatable only as a means to achieve (b).

Honestly, (b) is easier to achieve than (a), since TOC can be stuffed in
preamble (that is before reading the parse tree). Also, as it's
configurable, I don't think we should bother too much here.

> I am wondering if you would be interested in formalizing frontmatter in
> Org documents. Backends will then be obligated to render the front
> matter headings as "centered text".

What about using special blocks?

--8<---------------cut here---------------start------------->8---
This is the document abstract.
--8<---------------cut here---------------end--------------->8---

You can even use a drawer and define its export behaviour in
`org-export-format-drawer-function' (current exporter) or an equivalent.

Anyway, if it happens that tools to build complex documents are
missing[1], I agree that we should provide them, as long as they aren't
imposed to the user.


[1] But, first, let's make sure that it's impossible, or at least very
difficult, with current ones.

Nicolas Goaziou

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