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> Von: Jim Henry <[log in to unmask]>
> An: [log in to unmask]
> Betreff: Re: Conlang documentation

> On Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 3:37 AM, Roberto Suarez Soto
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >        Why not Google Docs? It's not so free-form as a wiki, but you
> can
> > edit it without knowing HTML or CSS (though it's good if you know) and
> export
> 
> How good is Google Docs from the POV of the pure casual reader, who
> isn't logging in to edit a document?  I haven't used Google Docs just
> to look at someone else's document without doing some kind of
> collaborative editing very often, but my impression is that it's slow
> to respond compared to a normal web page, even then.
> 

Google Docs makes geriatric snails appear to be quick and graceful creatures.
> 
> >        I'm totally against learning HTML just for writing your
> conlang's
> > documentation, unless you're already familiar with it. And even if so,
> I'd
> > advice against it. You can edit it with any text processor, but it's
> silly.
> > Nowadays there are better ways to publish something on the web.
> 
> In theory there are tools that let you write HTML documents without
> knowing HTML.  In practice, a lot of them are badly designed and
> produce invalid HTML that renders fine on some browsers, but not all
> -- they pages they produce tend to break especially badly on text
> browsers used by blind people and some people on low-bandwidth
> connections, and even on browsers that accept the buggy HTML, there's
> less consistency about how it gets rendered than with valid HTML.  I
> don't know what the current state of the art is, but back when I was
> learning to make web pages, *all* of the WYSIWIG HTML editors I tried
> or read reviews of produced invalid code to some degree.  Can anyone
> on the list recommend an HTML editor that consistently produces valid
> code?
> 
Still, learning HTML just for conlang documentation is overkill. I would suggest using some kind of least-bad software and a validator. Or just upload txt files, which does not require any HTML knowledge.

> >        You should go for something that allows you to write your
> stuff
> > without caring for tags and attributes. At the most, I'd use a Wiki that
> > allows some kind of easy Wiki syntax (like *bold*, /italics/,
> _underlined_,
> > etc.).
> 
> I like MediaWiki; I haven't tried a lot of other wiki software other
> than the buggy house wiki software at Wikispaces, which I
> disrecommend.  It has a WYSIWIG editor, but it's slow and unreliable
> for me, and Mechtild has found it even worse on her system, barely
> usable at all IIRC.
> 
Oh $DEITY! MediaWiki is Bad with a capital B. It is slow and completely buggy with low screen resolutions. It also fails to work with elinks almost completely. The editing text field is only 1(!) line tall. Seriously, Whiskey Tango Foxtrott!

> >        I'd use something that renders pretty. Let's face it: not
> many people
> > wants to read about other people's conlangs, and if it's written in
> plain,
> > boring, black on white text without any eye candy, there is still fewer
> > people that will.
> 
> Maybe.  I'm not fond of black on white per se, but one can change
> one's default colors to an equally high-contrast but less blindingly
> bright color scheme, and the simpler one's HTML is, the more likely it
> is that the user changing their colors won't break the page and make
> it unreadable.  For me, most of the "eye candy" people add to their
> web pages makes them less readable rather than more so.
> 
Same here. Most of my adblock list seems to be bad webdesign, not ads.

> There are various tools out there that let you take a formatted ASCII
> text file with markup like *asterisks for emphasis* and tab/space
> formatted tables and so forth and turn them into HTML or RTF.  I use a
> few of home-grown tools of that sort, with special hacks to format
> conlang sentence glosses, to produce my gzb web pages; some of them
> are in my
> 
> http://jimhenry.conlang.org/gzb/scripts.zip
> 
> and would need a little tweaking to work with languages other than
> gzb, but if anyone's interested, I'll produce a non-gzb version.  A
> tool more general-purpose and probably more powerful for most things
> (possibly not for glossing sentences, I suspect) is ReStructured Text,
> which I've heard about and plan to try but haven't yet:
> 
> http://docutils.sourceforge.net/docs/user/rst/quickstart.html
> 
> -- 
> Jim Henry
> http://www.pobox.com/~jimhenry/

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