A Modest Definition List Proposal (David E. Wheeler)

Sherwood Botsford sgbotsford at gmail.com
Wed Feb 25 09:57:20 EST 2009

>         id |  name   |  description     |      more info

>        ====|=========|==================|=====================

>          6 | Inset   | An inset element | just one element

>        ----|---------|------------------|---------------------

>          8 | Stories | Another element  | another element

>            |         |                  | with 2 lines

>        ----|---------|------------------|---------------------

>          9 | Other   | Another element  | another element

>            |         |                  | with 2 lines

>        ----|---------|------------------|---------------------

>          5 | Illust. | An illustration  | line breaks are not

>            |         | andn I think you | possible in a table

>            |         | know what I mena.|


> This is totally unambiguous and easy to scan for the reader. The problem is

> that, even though it's easy to read, it's also more tedious to write.


One minor change. You don't need pipes in the horizontal separator lines. E.g:
id | name | description | more info

I suspect that if you were going to write a lot of tables, you'd write
a perl program that would take an existing table that you slopped
together, and would fix the spacing of pipes on all the lines to match
the pipe spacing on the first line.

Tables are critters where formatting is tangled with content. And
with proportional type, a text only system requires agreement on tab
spacing at minimum to get anything to look right. (I'm not a fan of
monospace, so all these examples are wonky.)

Add to this, the need for centering, the need for column spans.

Allignment could be done with your horizontal separators.

|-----------| Means use your default alignment. (Same as cell above)

|<--------| Means left alignment. The < can appear anywhere between the |'s

|---------->| Means right alignment.

|-----=----| means center alignment.

Column spans could be done by replacing the pipe with an underscore.


|This is a cell that spans two|

columns, and is centred.


|Column 1 |Column 2|

I'm working in a proportional font, so the above example is sure to be wonky.

Note that these two ideas are contradictory.

To merge, them (makes reading slightly harder, but writing slightly easier.

| Default alignment |

|< Left Alignment <|

|> Right Alignment >|

|= Centered alignment =|

The alignment tags don't have to be paired, but can be for eye candy purposes.

|| Spans two columns of the stuff below |

| Column 1 | Column 1 |

Sherwood Botsford
Sherwood's Forests
Warburg, Alberta T0C 2T0

More information about the Markdown-Discuss mailing list