#57 Variable paragraph rendering

XSL (399)
Roy Gardiner

In books, magazines and newspapers paragraphs vary in
layout. An opening paragraph may may have its first
letter much larger than the others; a theme-break
paragraph may have white space separating it from the
previous, with the first letters or words
hightlighted; an ordinary paragraph will just start a
new line with indent.

We have no way of showing this in DocBook, although -
with the possible exception of the opening para - the
formatting change does reflect content in a way that
mark-up might need to represent.

I suggest something like:

<p tb=1|2|3|4|5>

or perhaps

<p tb=none|low|normal|medium|high>

where TB (thematic break) is of course optional and is
assumed as '3' or 'normal' if absent. Note this is not
new; the W3C CSS styles for HTML already
do it.

Roy Gardiner roy.gardiner@natwest.com


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    Note that your proposal to add a new atttribute -- "tb" --
    would constitute a change to the DTD, so you'd need to
    submit it via the RFE tracker:


    The "Features Request" tracker is for requesting feature
    changes the the XSLT and DSSSL stylesheets, which is part
    of what you're asking for I guess: if an attribute were to
    be added, you'd want it supported by the stylesheets.

    Have you considered marking up your theme-break paragraphs
    either as <sidebar>s or <note>s or something, with a "role"
    attribute? You'd need to write your own stylesheet support
    to get whatever rendering you wanted, but if it turned out
    to be something generally useful, you could request that it
    be supported by the standard stylesheets.

    If that answer doesn't satisfy you, I think you need to
    explain a little more about what a "theme break" is.
    Structurally, how is it different from a digression
    "presented outside the narrative flow of the main text"
    (sidebar) or a "A message set off from the main text"
    (note) or section break or an opening paragraph?

    If you do go ahead and file an RFE for it, though, I
    suggest that you don't call it a "theme break" -- keep in
    mind that DocBook is intended primarily as a schema for
    marking up documentation of computer hardware and software,
    where the idea of a "theme" doesn't have much relevance.

    And you'll have a much better chance of getting the DocBook
    TC to consider your proposal if you can describe clearly
    how a theme-break paragraph is different from the
    not-normal-body-paragraph things like notes and sidebars
    for which we already have existing DocBook elements.

    As I'm sure you know, the DTD is meant to model the
    structure and content of a document, not its formatting.
    From your description, the theme-break attribute seems
    intended mainly for formatting purposes, with only vague
    relevance at best to structure or content.

    • labels: --> XSL
    • priority: 5 --> 3
    • status: open --> closed-wont-fix
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    Stale issue. Submittor never followed up.