Re: [Boost-docs] [quickbook] Breaking a line

Subject: Re: [Boost-docs] [quickbook] Breaking a line
From: Dean Michael Berris (mikhailberis_at_[hidden])
Date: 2011-01-25 14:12:31

On Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 9:27 PM, Edward Diener <eldiener_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> On 1/25/2011 4:02 AM, John Maddock wrote:
>> The issue is that there is no such mechanism in docbook - a [br] is
>> really a presentation issue, not a structural one, and docbook deals
>> with structure not presentation.
> I do not know what the difference between structure and presentation means.
> One creates a language so that documents can be written using xml markup. if
> I can not structure my document so that a given piece of information appears
> at a given place, what is the purpose of such a language ?

Actually, to be pedantic about it, the point of the markup is really
to describe a document's structure -- in XML this deals with the
hierarchy, defining the DOM structure -- while the style sheet is
really the language that defines the presentation. Think of the XML as
the data structure, XSLT as the transformation, and CSS as the
stylesheet. In this case, quickbook is shorthand for Docbook (XML)
which is transformed using XSLT (Boostbook XSLT) to produce any one of
the following:

1. FOP input (structure) to generate PDF (presentation)
2. HTML (structure) that is styled using CSS (presentation)

It should be noted though that the "correct" way to deal with breaking
lines (even in HTML) is to wrap each "line" in a div with a class that
is styled with no bottom/top padding/margin. Some people use the
`span` element that has a class that overflows and is rendered as an

The point though is that the <br /> element is a misnomer like the
<font> and <pre> tag -- they are presentation elements that seeped
into a structure definition language.

> Since [br] appears to work anyway in quickbook, maybe we can remove the
> warning as it is very annoying.

For all intents and purposes as well as practically-speaking (and
without drudging up the "no tables" and "structure/presentation" split
debates that have already concerned the web standards guys for the
past couple of decades already) I think this should be considered. It
seems to be easier to mold the tools around users than it is to try to
change user behavior. ;)

Just my < $0.02 on the issue. :D

Dean Michael Berris

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : 2017-11-11 08:50:41 UTC