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See also: everything on style sheets starting with CssResources, AuthorChangeBars, BetterColors, BetterIndicators, and BetterMarkupInGeneral.

What other markup is commonly used?

I don't want to make this a grab-bag of feature-requests for additional markup.
I do want it to be about techniques that people are actually using and having to fudge with explicit HTML, since this is an indication that there is a real need.
The use of smilies led to the smilies plug-in - SmiliesPlugin. Other things led to the inserted graphics hack - TWikiDocGraphics and my brainstorming at BetterIndicators. See also TooUglyForNonTechnicalUsers.

What else.

Quotes and Standouts

An example of this:

This is an example of a quoted block with different background and indented margins, surrounded by a thin dotted black line.

The HTML for this is:

<div style="background:#FFF8EB; border: thin dotted black; padding: 2%; margin: 2%;">
This is an example of a quoted block with different 
background and indented margins, surrounded by 
a thin dotted black line.

This is a special case of an indented paragraph such as a piece of quoted text:

"The time has come, the old man said, to talk of many things"
Now we can view that as a list without a bullet - see ExtendedListSyntax.

We can also look at the "quote" mechanism in CSS, which while enlightening isn't a lot of use as its so poorly implemented, so lets skip over that.

We can also look how quotes do get done with CSS - sometimes they are referred to as "pull-quotes".
http://www.westciv.com/style_master/cookbook is a good place to start.

At http://www.westciv.com/style_master/house/cookbook/appearance.html there is a section on pull-quotes.
Its completely oriented towards style sheets.

It defines:

  • The text color
  • The background color
  • the padding
  • the font style
  • the border
  • the margins
  • the padding

Of course its spelt "color" even if you're a Brit or Canuk wink



The defaults are as important as the syntax. If the defaults are not to have a box then they end up being like a hanging tab item without a tab or a bullet list item without a bullet.
See ExtendedListSyntax, AlignSyntax, AlternateTextFormatting. At present, the syntax of both of those won't permit them to be used as a substitute.

So there are to ways we can go.

Simple Quotes

Simple quotes don't alter any of the attributes except the indent (margins). ]]That's why having defaults is important.
The following syntax has been discussed elsewhere but I forgot to bookmark it.

Three spaces and a quote to begin. Three spaces and a quote to end.


   " The time has come ...

The time has come ...

      The time has come ...
all get translated to, assuming such defaults, to

<span style="margin-left: 5em; margin-right: 5em"> The time has come ... </span>

Obviously there is the possibility for %QUOTEDEFAULTS% but we want it to display the same for everyone so ther are too many constraints. It has to be ems or percentage not pixels so the rendering mathces the defualt fonts size and window size when rescaled.

And "_obviously_" this is better done with style sheets!

Not So Simple Quotes

The Not so Simple way goes something like

%QUOTE(bg=#FFF8EB border="thin dotted black" padding="2%" margin="2%")% This is an example of a quoted block with different background and indented margins, surrounded by a thin dotted black line. %ENDQUOTE%

And the implementation is pretty obvious. The defaults would supply the unspecified arguments.


Obviously the defaults are important. We want to be able to write just %QUOTE% or pehaps %QUOTE("The time has come ...")%

Style sheet or no style sheet?

I suspect many plugins will have to make use of a flag, perhaps in the User's Topic, perhaps at the site or web level, to determine if style sheets are being used or if inline code such as <span style="..."> is to be used.

Colored text, possibly with colored background

See my proposed idea BetterColors. Rememember not to use the English spelling wink

-- AntonAylward - 03 Jan 2003

ThreadMode Comments

I fail to see how writing %QUOTE("The time has come ...")% is simpler than <blockquote>The time has come...</blockquote> . I think we just devise a wiki markup construct for the blockquote html tag and leave the styling to future TWikiUsingCSS developments rather than creating new hard to write and remember variables.

If we continue to proceed this way (a path which we have already traveled a fair bit before you initiated this discussion) we might as well just adopt HTML and be done with it. The whole point of wiki markup is too make it easier than html and as close as possible to the way we write anyway .

The pressure to create new wiki markup (or variables) is going to continue -- I'm guilty of agitating for a few myself. Maybe what we really need to do is:

  • to say "this far and no farther" and live within the contraints, or
  • devise more intelligent ways of determining what a given piece of text is supposed to look like without resorting to creating new markup, or
  • develop a WYSIWYG EasyEditor and use html

(BTW, the span example you have above should be a div . SPAN is for inline content, DIV is for block content. Though both can be made to behave oppositely it is not good practice.)

-- MattWilkie - 04 Jan 2003

I stand corected on the DIV/SPAN item.

But as for the slippery slope ...

  1. I opened by saying that we need a TWiki method for what people - yourself included (who do you think I stole my example from?) - are doing with explicit HTML. I agree with you, they don't need to use HTML. The point is can we make something that has default so that, as Dennis Ritchie said, "the commonplace becomes simple and the complex becomes straightforward"? See also TooUglyForNonTechnicalUsers.
    • Pull-quotes and quoted paragraphs are commonly used. We need a method to make them easy.
  2. I fully agree about the overloading of the %OPERATOR% syntax. That why I dragged back the '"' idea for the regular quoted paragraphy.
    • That still leaves pull-quotes though
  3. I've tried to be consistent in my suggestions for syntax.
    • Maybe I shuld use more smilies to show where I'm being satirical or sarcastic. The trouble is I can only reemember three: wink smile and frown - which is of course a sarcastic comment.
  4. Either we do have an editor and scanner that, as you say, has a more intelligent way of devising what people mean, or we need a way whereby people can easily make it clear what they mean. Its been many years since the days of The Tower Of Babel (see BabelOfWikis) so I doubt there is a scanner which could habdle all dialects. And that's apart from what Roger Penrose might have to say on the matter.
    • There's a line from the Roman poet Horace in one of my textbooks that, loosely translated, sums up much of the Open Software Movement:

Brother, if you have a better idea, propose it freely, or make use of mine.
See http://css.nu/examples/blockquotes.html

-- AntonAylward - 04 Jan 2003

For more discussions on the blockquote/indented text issue see ImplicitPreOrBlockquote and TWikiMarkupForBlockquotes.

-- MattWilkie - 07 Jan 2003

I would push for TWiki using CSS and defining built-in classes, with the looks designed to match the skin of the current topic.

Your exemple would be just a

<div class=quote>
   ... the text

This is arguably not uglier than the %- syntax, and it is standard: users can learn something that they can reuse elsewhere.

For instance, see at the end of http://koala.ilog.fr/wiki/bin/view/Test/WebHome the style given to the blockquotes, with the same text on another web: http://koala.ilog.fr/wiki/bin/view/Koala_Skin/TestBlockQuotes

One could thus define different classes: quote, code, example, error... matching the skin color scheme, which would be very useful for table rows for instance...

-- ColasNahaboo - 20 Aug 2003

comments factored out to TWikiUsingCSS -- ArthurClemens - 09 Sep 2003

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