Markdown development

Bowerbird at Bowerbird at
Thu Mar 25 00:58:23 EDT 2010

sherwood said:

> The bowerbird is half right. 

> Elastic tab stops are worthy of implementing.

> But to keep the transition cost minimal

> the older way has to be supported also.

well, no, actually, i'm _completely_ right...
since i never said to jettison the older way. :+)
(which is why david's comment makes no sense.)

we could certainly say that "markdown supports
elastic tabs" and leave it to the various coders to
decide for themselves whether _they_ support it.

although even after everyone fully implements
elastic tabs, we can still support "the older way".
horses are fun to ride sometimes...


seumas said:

> You're not really talking tables here though,

> you're talking self-aligning columns of text.

> That is not the same thing as an html table,

> even though that is what tables are often used for.

we start with self-aligning columns of text, yes.
but it's certainly possible to extend from there...

of course you can probably sketch out some table
that would be impossible for us to handle nicely,
in which case we'd have to back off and use .html.

but -- as far as i can see, do tell me if i'm wrong --
that's the suggestion for what we should always do,
which i do not find to be a compelling alternative...


> Elastic tab stops are not a new concept.

> Some people tried to lead, nobody followed.

yet we are still talking about how to do tables...

> I have programmed them to, because

> I loved the concept, but it was not so easy.

> It complicates the code, very much.

> It is not difficult, but it gives very ugly results.

i can handle "not so easy" as long as it's "not difficult". ;+)
as for giving ugly results, that's not true of _my_ code.

> When I'm rendering text I don't want to have to

> scan the whole file just to adjust tab stops,

> as sometimes happen.

i treat every table independently, so i only have to
scan through to the end of the table to set the tabs.

> In fact, I prefer not having to look ahead at all.

well, gee, i read the whole file in advance anyway,
because it's impossible to do all the things i want
without knowing what the entire file looks like...

my first page must know the last page, intimately.

> The main reason I implemented ets

> was to use variable width fonts, and

> those ones do not play well with

> the spaces-tab conversion.

monospaced spaces and proportional fonts
cannot work well, by definition, i'm afraid...

> How do you represent tabs in the output

> of a tool like sed, for example?

> It is not such an easy problem, really.

sed needs to be programmed to do that, is all...

> Spreadsheets used fixed width columns

> last time I checked.

i do believe that spreadsheets can self-adjust.
and i'm almost certain that ms-word-tables can.

although i am loathe to ever start up ms-word,
i'll do so if you tell me you need me to verify it.

> Somebody could arguee that

> the fact that everybody is still using

> the classical tab stops make them good enough.

i'd love to hear someone argue that. i'd chuckle. :+)

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