[Grok-dev] Re: maintaining the Grok website
Brandon Craig Rhodes
brandon at rhodesmill.org
Sat Sep 22 14:04:50 EDT 2007
>> Writing content as text also allows the wonderful practice of placing
>> separate clauses on separate lines, so that one can see the shape of
>> sentences, see the pattern of punctuation, and judge the flow of one's
>> prose. ... [The previous sentence] would look like:
>> Writing content as text
>> also allows the wonderful practice
>> of placing separate clauses on separate lines,
>> so that one can see the shape of sentences,
>> see the pattern of punctuation,
>> and judge the flow of one's prose.
Martin Aspeli <optilude at gmx.net> writes:
> That's ... weird, I've never seen anyone work like this.
It used to be quite common. :-)
Note that keeping text as "source code", broken into phrases like my
example above, rather than prematurely formatting it for the screen,
is very important when saving it to a version-control system like
Subversion! Premature formatting means that adding a word to the
first line of a paragraph can change *every single line* of the rest
of the paragraph - from a version control system's point of view - and
make it look like the whole paragraph has changed, until you tediously
read through both versions and realize that they are the same, but
that the words have been broken into lines at different places!
Writing text with separate phrases on separate lines was standard
practice - at least in UNIX shops - back in the 1970s and 1980s, and I
believe that every manual for the UNIX "Documenters Work Bench (DWB)"
(later the "Writers Workbench (WWB)") recommends composing text this
way. It was from one of those manuals that I learned the practice in
the 1980s; but the practice obviously declined as UNIX moved farther
from Bell Labs.
I cannot find a full WWB manual on the Web, but if you perform a
Google Book Search for Narain Gehani's "Document Formatting and
Typesetting on the Unix System", Google will show you some of the
book's content. Unfortunately, the crucial part of Chapter 1 that
introduces how to actually format a text file is missing ("Pages 5-14
are not part of this book preview"), but if you will examine page 17,
you will see an example business letter that begins new sentences on
new lines, just as I myself do.
Brandon Craig Rhodes brandon at rhodesmill.org http://rhodesmill.org/brandon
More information about the Grok-dev