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Re: Bug#302138: incorrect Description line wrapping with bullet lists



On Wednesday 30 March 2005 05:19 am, Jeroen van Wolffelaar wrote:
> Ideally, all packaging tools would support some kind of very simple
> markup language to support enumerations in a sane way, but that's a
> long-term project.

  There's room in the description standard for future extensions: quoting 
Policy,

      Those containing a space, a full stop and some more characters.
      These are for future expansion. Do not use them.

  We can also extend the description format in backwards-compatible ways.  So, 
while a proper markup language would be nice, that doesn't preclude fixing 
the bullet problem, albeit in a slightly hacky way, NOW.  What about this:

 ==========================
  A line beginning with two or more spaces, followed by a bullet character and 
a space, is considered to be an element of a bulleted list.  Every succeeding 
line that begins with N+1 or more spaces, where N is the number of spaces 
preceding the bullet, is considered to be part of the same bulleted list, and 
is processed as if N+1 spaces had been stripped from its left margin, with 
the exception that if the N+2nd character is not a space, the line is 
formatted as if a leading space were present.  (see below)

  Bullet characters are (maybe) "-", "+", "*", and "o"; the frontend may 
render them literally or modify their appearence as it deems appropriate.  
NOTE: it might be a good idea to exclude "o"; I doubt many packages use "o" 
as a word by itself at the beginning of a literally-formatted line, but it 
might be a word in some foreign language, which would cause problems once we 
have translated descriptions.  Unfortunately, this would make the format less 
backwards-compatible.
 ==========================

  This means that the current "best practice" for bulleted lists; eg,

Description: something with a bulleted list
 This is a package.  It has some features:
  * A feature.
  * Another feature.
  * A feature I felt like
    continuing onto the next line for some reason
  * For backwards compatibility, some
   variation in indentation is OK.

  will be displayed as expected in all current frontends, while future 
frontends will treat each of the last two items as a paragraph and word-wrap 
it accordingly.  Lists-within-lists would work like this:

Description: something with two bulleted lists
 This is a package.  It has lots of features:
  * A feature.
  * Another feature.
  * A really complicated feature with subfeatures:
      + Subfeature 1
      + Subfeature 2
      + Subfeatures can also
        continue to the next line.
        .
        We can also have paragraph separators.
  * Another feature.

  The only non-sensibly-rendering thing in legacy frontends would be the 
literal full-stop, which could be avoided by discouraging the use of 
multiple-paragraph list items (and really, descriptions shouldn't be that 
complicated anyway...IMO).

  Things to note:
    - Older frontends will render descriptions in this format without any 
difficulty.
    - Newer frontends will either automagically detect bulleted lists in older 
descriptions (all the proper lists that I found in a very small sample would 
work exactly as expected) or display them literally (the current situation).  
The worst case would be where the start of a list is literal and its 
continuation is word-wrapped, but this would come out no worse than the 
current situation:

  * A feature
  * Some other feature
 but I want you to word-wrap the continuation.

  All-in-all, I think that this is a nice low-cost way of getting proper 
bullet support into the frontends.  Comments?

  Daniel

-- 
/------------------- Daniel Burrows <dburrows@debian.org> ------------------\
|               "You keep on using that word.  I do not think               |
|                it means what you think it means."                         |
|                 -- "The Princess Bride"                                   |
\---------------- The Turtle Moves! -- http://www.lspace.org ---------------/

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