on the philosophical aspects of a specification

Waylan Limberg waylan at gmail.com
Wed Mar 5 14:40:53 EST 2008

On Wed, Mar 5, 2008 at 1:46 PM, Vinay Augustine <vinay at case.edu> wrote:

> > My only other concern is when stepping back out of the nesting.

> > Suppose we have the following list:

> >

> > * no spaces - level 1

> > * 4 spaces - level 2

> > * 6 spaces - level 3

> > * 2 spaces - level 1.5 ???

> >

> > Obviously, that would break. But what's the best way to handle that? I

> > do *not* think backtracking through the list and reorganizing the list

> > levels is a reasonable option. Perhaps, that last line should be root

> > of a *new* list. What do you think?

> >


> With the rule just proposed, wouldn't the last line simply be level 2?

> I think this rule has the bonus of being obvious. If it doesn't do

> what someone expects, they can look at what they wrote and say "oh, as

> long as I indent more than the previous level, it will make a

> sub-list." (of course, that could just be obvious since we're talking

> about it).


To me that is not at all obvious. If it were to work as you propose,
then the spec needs to specifically indicate that that is the expected

Perhaps the reason this is *not* obvious to me is that I have a
relatively strong background coding python. In python code, whitespace
is significant. In fact, with few exceptions indentation is the only
way to indicate nesting. The above nesting would **break** at compile
time in python code. This is a "feature" and considered a "good thing"
by most python users.

I also realize that one of many people's beefs with python is the
significance of whitespace. So I'm not going to suggest that markdown
adopt python's whitespace rules (although personally I'd love it).
However, I bring this up because I doubt I'm the only one that
wouldn't see what *should* happen (besides choking) in this instance.

Waylan Limberg
waylan at gmail.com

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