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[Gnu-arch-users] Re: finding answers quickly

From: Miles Bader
Subject: [Gnu-arch-users] Re: finding answers quickly
Date: Fri, 01 Oct 2004 09:45:14 +0900

Thomas Lord <address@hidden> writes:
> I think of the screwy doc format used in libhackerlab and the tla
> tutorial a particularly interesting variation on the wiki-syntax
> theme:
> It is *intended* to be a close-to-plain-text format, quite readable
> (and even hyperlinkable) in source form.   It is intended to have a 
> tasteful mix of structural (semantic) and presentation markups.
> It is intended to be relatively trivial to parse and process.

I rather like what I've seen of the hackerlab doc format, and the
various wiki formats are often half-way reasonable for simple stuff
(though usually only halfway :-).

They are "text friendly" in some sense:  when you edit them, you can
concentrate on the text in a natural way.

Markup languages like docbook (and many other sgml derived languages)
are different -- they almost seem text hostile.  They give you powerful
tools for adding meaning to text, but often seem to obscure the actual
text in the process!  For automatically produced documents, or documents
with an extremely regular format, that might be fine, but it seems to
artificially emphasize minutia at the expense of the larger whole.  Of
course, the experience of editing docbook might be very different for
somebody using an editor that hides the markup, but that's not me.

Personally I'm a fan of texinfo and other `scribe like' formats -- it's
a bit crufty and annoyingly ad-hoc in places, but viewed from 100 feet
up, it seems to me to strike a rather nice balance between markup and

Freedom's just another word, for nothing left to lose   --Janis Joplin

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