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I'm here as a simple amateur of all kinds of languages (including some human ones ;-)). Discovered this project while searching for improvements for the wikiDot markup, a really great wiki which engine is beeing delivered as open source. Have looked around, thought and designed a lot already. I'll try to expose the results of this reflexion progressively, here and on talk pages for specific topics.

personal position#

I'm rather looking for a basically better wiki markup language, than for one compatible with the present markups. So that principles such as

  • no conflict
  • not new
  • (not really expressed but very present:) mostly used
are not relevant for me: they're rather second stage criteria. What I mean is that, to my opinion, these criteria are fundamental for a interwiki-only markup, precisely for mixing creole with local markup -- which sounds a bit alien to my ears. Otherwise
  • author-friendliness
  • clarity/simplicity/consistency
  • speed to learn/memorize/master
are much more prominent goals.


segment : A bit of text inside a logical_line
May be enclosed in delimiter tag to indicate its style.

style tag : A kind of mark/tag used to enclose a segment of text.
Used to apply the same formatting to the whole segment.
In creole, double characters are used.

logical & visual lines : A chunk of text ended by a newline mark.
In regular text, a logical line is a paragraph ; it can also be a simple line, a header, a list item, a table row, when started with the appropriate layout tag.
A logical line may be split into visual lines with a soft newline.

logical & visual newlines : a mark usually inserted by pressing the return/enter key.
A newline is both a plain character that creates a new visual line and, in most cases, a tag that starts a new line-component (see comment about this below under 'page structure').
Logically enough, a newline preceeded by an escape (plain-character) tag becomes a visual newline : it loses its tag function but remains a plain character, thus starting a new visual line without marking the end of the logical line.
In many wiki languages, including creole, a newline works as above specified for all kinds of logical lines except for regular text paragraphs. In that case, a single newline is ignored ; a logical newline is marked by a double newline ; a visual newline is set by a special break tag.

layout tag : A kind of mark/tag placed at the start of a logical line
Used to set its layout.

block : Either a sequence of segments of the same type (e.g. a list made of list items), or a part of page included as a hole instead of beeing written (e.g. TOC, note list, image)
see "page structure"

section = header / content : Major semantic tailoring of a page.
A header is a segment ; may be split into title / subtitle.
A content is a sequence of blocks -- see "page structure"

page structure#

please improve & criticize on talk page

note the major difference between semantic & markup page structures

page component tree#

		line (logical)
			line (visual)

(A header could be a single-section block, thus both a section and a block ? Then, how to mark a subtitle ? There should be a tag. Splitting a header with a visual newline is not coherent, as it's not a tag. If we choose a new tag (e.g. '!'), then a header becomes a block with 2 logical lines. Similar to a definition block.)

This is a semantic structure, which actually is not marked by the tagged format :

  • A header marks the start of a section (also if the following content is blank or even empty). But there is no delimited section in fact.
  • A block is usually a series of logical lines. But, again, there is no delimited no delimted block.
However, even if not marked, this structure could be constructed by an dedicated parser.

The page itself is a section, a header-body pattern. But it's not a sequence of sub-sections, as its body (content) can start -- and usually starts -- with an untitled introduction. Idem for the sub-sections.
Thus, each body, including the page's content, is a series of blocks. Some of them can be headers, informally creating new sections.

semantic page structure#

key : ? ==> this element can be present or not (0 or 1 time) + ==> this element can be repeated (1 or more times) ¤ ==> this element can be present any number of times (0, 1 or more times)

page                : header body
header              : title sub_title?
body                : block¤
block               : header | paragraph_block | bullet_list | number_list | table | imported_block | computed_block 
paragraph_block     : paragraph+
bullet_list         : bullet_list_item NL
number_list         : number_list_item NL
table               : table_row
imported_block      : {{//type// //ID// (|//parameter//=//value//)*}}
computed_block      : ((//type// //ID// (|//parameter//=//value//)*))
text                : plain_text | styled_text
styled_text         : distinct_text | important_text | raw_text | monospace_text | link | variable
distinct_text       : //plain_text//
important_text      : **plain_text**
raw_text            : ??plain_text??
monospace_text      : ??plain_text??
link                : [[//address// (|//text/)?]]
variable            : <<//name//>>
plain_text          : (//list of valid text characters separated with '|')*

markup page structure#

page         : logical_line¤
logical_line : title | sub_title | paragraph | bullet_list_item | number_list_item | table_row | imported_block | computed_block

line components structure#

header              : title sub_title?
title               : =+ text NL
sub_title           : !+ text NL
bullet_list_item    : *+ text NL
number_list_item    : *+ text NL
table_row           : (|text)+ |
paragraph           : logical_line_style_mark* text NL

style tags#

raw character (escape) : \ scissor & glue (see below) : This mark is used to make a visual line out of two source lines, or the contrary -- may be useful ? Don't confuse with the logical / visual logical_line style marks & segment style delimiters :

n o t e s

what I prize in creole#

  • the word "creole"
  • the consensus processus
  • the focus on the most important features
  • the trend toward intuitiveness (self-explaining tags)
  • more & more

what I miss / what I don't like#

topics that will be further explained below/later

  • page title (!=page_name) & subtitle
  • sub-headers
  • "distinct" (example, quotation, remark, advice) & "important" segments parallel to "distinct" (italic) & "important" (bold) segments
  • syntax for all kinds of magic-words, variables & functions -- see for instance wikiMedia variables
  • syntax for "imported" blocks (page, image, widget...)
  • syntax for "computed" blocks (toc, index, page list...)
  • nowiki and monospace should be totally distinct !
  • syntax for native (x)html, including (java)scripts (I propose most simply to double <> tags to )

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« This particular version was published on 15-Sep-2008 21:20 by spir.