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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Re: Proposal: New Instruction element in HowTo-DTD 2.0
Date Mon, 08 Nov 2004 17:14:37 GMT

Ferdinand Soethe wrote:
> RG> This is developer question, such questions should be asked on the dev at
> RG> list (with this message I have moved it to the dev
> RG> list, please respond there).
> Sorry, I figured content related stuff belonged in the user list since
> users would be the ones to ask whether they needed a new element or
> didn't. Now I know better.
> RG> How-To DTD extends the Document dtd. The document DTD provides plenty of
> RG>   elements to distinguish different types of paragraph. Would <source>
> RG> and <code> be sufficient?
> I don't think they do for two reasons:
> 1. XML-markup is supposed to express function rather than the way a
>    piece of info should be rendered. So even if <code> or <source> would
>    get me the desired visual effect (which they don't, see 2), it
>    doesn't seem to be a good idea to use the same element for
>    different function.
>    And the content of an instruction element (do this, do that) is
>    very different from a source code example or a plain paragraph
>    explaining the result of the instruction.


> 2. Instructions in most manuals and books have their very own style to
>    clearly show that you should do something. As a minimum they would
>    be bulleted or numbered, more often they have some graphic symbols
>    like a checkmark instead of a bullet.
> Important: Not all paragraphs in the steps-section are instructions.
> Quite often you would have an instruction followed by a piece of code
> or a normal paragraph explaining the result. So I couldn't just use a
> style that sets all paras within a step that way.

How about:

<p class="instruction">This is an instruction</p>

<p>This is a discussion.</p>

This would be my recommendation if you were using XHTML. However, if the 
intention is to develop the How-To DTD into a better source format then 
he above may not be applicable.

What do others think?


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