Sunday, May 13, 2012

How Much Markup Do I Really Need?

I often hear complaints about the difficulty of remembering markup conventions in ConnectedText and other applications. It may indeed be true that trying to remember everything is hard at the beginning. But the question is for me: How much do I need on a daily basis? It turns out that I need very little. Just when I used a typewriter many years ago, I need to be able to indicate emphasis, make different paragraphs for block quotes, some kind of list, headlines and footnotes. In ConnectedText this means:
  1. italics --> "//italics//>"
  2. blockquotes --> ":" or "{Space}" (at the beginning of a line)
  3. ordered list --> "{Space}1.{Space} "(hitting return will automatically continue lists; hitting return twice will stop it)
  4. unordered list --> "{Space}*{Space} (hitting return will automatically continue lists; hitting return twice will stop it)
  5. headlines --> "===some headline===" (five levels deep, with the number of "=" indicating the level)
  6. footnotes --> "[!This is a footnote!]" (during edit it will show up just where you type it; in view mode it will be at the end of the paragraph)
There are two other option that could not be created on a typewriter (or can only create with difficulty in most other applications)
  1. links --> "[[link]]" to connect different topics
  2. Categories --> "[[$CATEGORY:some category]]" to impose some rudimentary order
That's it: eight different options. And that is all I really need. In addition to these eight, I use two others very frequently:
  1. inclusion --> "((some topic))" to include some other stuff from other topics
  2. properties "[[$PR:xx:=y]]"
These last two can, admittedly, become very difficult very quickly. But they are not essential for someone starting out. Nor am I sure that they are basic needs. They are acquired and can be acquired by anyone who uses the markup long enough. So ten basic options and two that go beyond them. Of course, there are many other options that go far beyond these ten. They go from bold and underline to tables and attributes. But using them is (for me) choice, not necessity.


Fer said...

Missed an exclamation mark for adding a footnote:

footnote--> [!footnote!]

MK said...


Aqil Fithri said...

Dear MK,

May I ask a query, if you dont mind.

I use Topics with property to accumulate useful quotations. So, with this approach, I can see all my quotations in the same page/sheet. However, unfortunately, there is a limit for making a long quotation. In other words, it is automatically cut off a part of quotation. Therefore I would like to ask you should you have any idea on how to appear full quotation in topic of property?

Many thanks.