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Re: [O] Allowing loose ordering in Org files

From: Matt Lundin
Subject: Re: [O] Allowing loose ordering in Org files
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2015 14:42:14 -0600
User-agent: Gnus/5.130014 (Ma Gnus v0.14) Emacs/25.0.50 (gnu/linux)

John Wiegley <address@hidden> writes:

>>>>>> Nicolas Goaziou <address@hidden> writes:
>> I really don't like the idea of making Org /syntax/ customizable, would it
>> be with the help of a hook or a variable.
> From what I've seen so far, several users want regularity of syntax to
> decide formatting, and several users want user preference to decide
> formatting. There do seem to be larger costs for letting the user
> decide; but there are also costs to not letting the user decide, that
> I feel are not being appreciated.

Could you please be more specific about what the problem is? Apart from
the location of properties, are there other forms of flexible formatting
that have been lost in recent releases? And what specifically is the
problem with a required property drawer location? Is it aesthetic?

> The reason I'm sticking on this point is because it also relates to our future
> road map. If Org continues to do this -- to trade flexibility of formatting
> for regularity of parsing -- it might continue to alienate some of us.

I don't think this is a fair description of the direction org-mode has
been taking. I think org-mode has has unparalleled flexibility. If
anything, that flexibility has grown over the past few years. E.g., I
can enter any number of drawers, tables, lists, code blocks, links,
footnotes, etc. in a single entry. And I can export all of that data
reliable to a growing number of formats.

But when it comes to meta-data, I think it has been helpful to tighten
up the syntax. After all, org-mode has always required many types of
fixed formatting/syntax. For instance, one can't just put tags anywhere
in the body of an entry. Nor can one use arbitrary symbols to designate
headline levels. Nor can on put TODO keywords anywhere (despite frequent
requests for such functionality).

Since org-mode recognizes only one property drawer per entry, it makes
sense (for clarity, simplicity, efficiency, etc.) to require that this
special key:value metadata be "attached" to the headline (like tags,
TODOs, etc.).


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