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Re: Org-syntax: Intra-word markup

From: Juan Manuel Macías
Subject: Re: Org-syntax: Intra-word markup
Date: Thu, 02 Dec 2021 19:09:55 +0000

Tom Gillespie writes:

> I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but the edge cases for
> the current markup syntax are already hard enough to
> implement correctly, to the point where different parts of
> Org mode are inconsistent. Intra-word markup isn't viable
> because there simply isn't any sane way to parse something
> like *hello world*/hrm/oh no*. The other issue is that this will
> degrade parsing performance because almost every
> character could precede the start of a markup section.
> I recommend anyone suggesting solutions try to implement
> something that can parse the markup unambiguously with
> lots of nasty test cases. You will likely find that it is impossible
> to consistently tokenize markup, and that you have to hand
> write a whole bunch of heuristics, making Org syntax even
> harder to implement correctly.
> Any solution that suggests extending how =/*~+_  can be
> used gets a hard no from me. I could see teaching other
> exporters how to interpret \emph{hello}world, but trying for
> to have any sane behavior for something like
> why *hello*world oh no a wild askterisk*
> is not worth it.

I believe, that emphasis marks are a part of Org that can be very
shocking to new users. I mean, there is a series of behaviors that seem
obvious and trivial in the emphasized text, but that in Org are not
possible out of the box, unless you configure
`org-emphasis-regexp-components'. Three quick examples. This in Org is
not possible out of the box:


Nor is it possible ---out of the box--- to extend emphasis beyond a
certain number of lines. New users who come from other forms of markup
maybe expect the obvious to be something like:

some-text begin-emphasis whatever-is-in-between end-emphasis more-text

Over time one ends up seeing these things more as a feature than as a
bug :-) But those little inconsistencies make the Org syntax a bit ugly,
IMHO. I can't think of how to improve that, though.

Best regards,

Juan Manuel 

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