My heart skipped a beat upon hearing about reStructuredText Markup language. I
was looking for something like that as I wrote my book in VO. But deeper
examination of reStructuredText Markup language revealed two problems -- one
an inconvenience and one a showstopper.
The inconvenience is table construction -- it's very impractical for a guy
like me who can put several paragraphs within a single cell. But heck, that
can be worked around.
The showstopper is that there's absolutely no provision for custom styles, at
least from what I could see in the quickstart, the quick reference, and the
specification. Writing a long document without custom styles is a Keystone
I spoze one could do what I did on my last book, and if you have a custom
style called "story", you could delineate it with <story> and </story> within
VimOutliner, and then in the resulting document manually convert those to the
story paragraph style of your creation. But it sure would have been nice to
be able to have the converter convert the style, so that all you'd need to do
on the other end is create the story style. Or better yet, the converter
could create a dummy story style that looks just like body text, and then you
can modify that style and watch all text to which it's applied change
I could go on and on and on about various wordprocessors claiming to be
professional, but having very rudimentary facility for styles, especially on
converted documents. This is one of the reasons I use LyX -- styles are built
into the LyX project's basic charter, and also they're built into LaTeX, the
language to which LyX converts its native format.
This makes me think. Perhaps there could be an ultra-simple way to designate
the beginning and end of a paragraph or character style (they'd have to be
different) within VimOutliner, and then have the converter program create
dummy styles in a layout file (LyX), or dummy styles in a CSS file (HTML). If
one uses only styles to convey formatting changes, and I really believe
that's the only way formatting changes SHOULD be conveyed in a long document,
that would be sufficient to quickly turn a VO outline into a book. Paragraph
styles would be unnecessary for headlines because they're implied by their
depth. But character styles would be valuable within headlines, and both
character and paragraph styles would be ultra-convernient within body text.
Trouble is, I'm the only person I know who uses both VimOutliner and LyX, and
although I know many who author HTML with VimOutliner, I'm not nearly good
enough at CSS to implement the HTML conversion program.
I'm copying the LyX mailing list to let them know how much I appreciate their
facilitation of styles-based documents.