Markdown development

Bowerbird at Bowerbird at
Wed Mar 24 13:49:56 EDT 2010

sherwood said:

> I don't understand.

what's to understand? :+)

> Are you saying that MD should recognize elastic tab stops

> in a file and convert that to a html table?

yes, that's what i'm saying, or at least part of it.

> This is certainly a possible route, but given

> the number of editors that don't recognize

> elastic tab stops, this is daunting.

at some point, you have to free yourself from the constraints
that low-quality software imposes on your workflow, yes sir...

but, you know, all it takes is for one brave leader to _lead_,
and a number of non-cowardly followers to _follow_, and
-- before you know it -- a new capability is taken for granted.

> It also means that MD needs to recognize

> at least two ways to do tables -- ets and markup.

well, if you want to keep a horse around in addition to
your new horseless carriage, by all means, feel free... ;+)

> Are you saying that browsers should all be smart enough

> to recognize elastic tab stops?

yes. every text-editing environment should have the capability.

because -- if you've programmed it, like i have -- you'll know
that it's really not all that difficult to code. indeed, it's easy...

and although i don't remember this in the work-up on them
(because i conceived them long before that, independently),
this functionality should include a feature that will convert
multiple spaces to a tab character (the easy part) as well as
convert a tab to the "correct" number of multiple spaces...
(e.g., so the table displays correctly in a monospaced font).
i'd think the default save-format would be multiple-spaces,
just to accommodate the non-tab-aware software out there.

there's nothing "magical" about this functionality. it's just
a straightforward implementation of old-fashioned tabs,
with the new wrinkle that the columns are self-adjusting
to the size they need to be. which is something we could
have reasonably expected our computers to do all along...
(indeed, isn't this capability already in most spreadsheets?)

> While an admirable goal, I won't hold my breath for the day

> that 95% of browsing is done with ETS capable browsers.

i'm not holding my breath for 95% of browsers being _capable_,
in _any_ sense of the word, not as long as we have a microsoft...

but in cost-benefit terms, cost being low, benefits being high,
this particular feature is one that has a good cost-benefit ratio.

all it will take is for somebody out front to "just do it"...

this is _not_ a betamax/vhs situation. vhs was "good enough".
nobody says our current table functionality is "good enough".

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