Re: LineBreaks vs Page/ColBreaks

Subject: Re: LineBreaks vs Page/ColBreaks
From: Eric W. Sink (
Date: Sat May 27 2000 - 09:39:01 CDT

First of all, hitting the return key does *not* insert a line break.
It inserts a *paragraph* break. The distinction is very important.

A paragraph, also known as a block, is a logical unit of content.
It has nothing to do with physical positioning or the geography
of a sheet of paper. Those things are the realm of "layout", and
terms like lines, columns, and pages are the sort of things
we deal with there.

The process of layout is taking logical units of content and
flowing them appropriately into physical containers. When this
is done, we can't lose the original understanding of where the
boundaries of the logical content are.

A paragraph can have formatting attributes on it, and those attributes
need to be preserved and changeable, regardless of whether that
paragraph spans a single line or 10 columns across five pages.

There *is* such a thing as a forced line break, but it's a different
beast. It's simply an instruction to the layout engine to force
a line break in the flow where one might not otherwise be expected.
It does not change the logical organization of content.

Reading the notes in the this thread, I'm not 100% sure that I know
exactly what the misconception is. If this message seems pointless,
than I probably missed the point, and I apologize. If you'll
rephrase the question, I'll try again. :-)


>On 27 May 2000, Jesper Skov wrote: > >> >>>>> "Jesper" == Jesper Skov <> writes: >> >> OK, I now know why the code doesn't behave as I expect it to. It's >> because (surprise) there's a bad assumption: it expects "formatting" >> runs such as linebreak, columnbreak and pagebreak to be used in the >> same way. >> >> That's not the case, however, and I wonder if that's by conscious >> design or JustTheWayItHappensToBe(TM). When inserting a linebreak, a >> new block is created for the following line. It seems natural (to my >> twisted mind, anyway) to have the same happen for columnbreaks and >> pagebreaks, but these just appear as runs inside the original block. >> >> Coding "around" this is trivial, but adds a bit of complexity that I'd >> like to know has to be there for a (good?) reason - I simply don't >> have the overview of AbiWord to reason out a good explanation. Please >> help :) >> >I ran into this when I was trying to fix Luke Jordan's Lists patch. (I >gave up and decided to leave it until Fields gets fixed). A new line gets >a new Block. I assumed that a block was actually a paragraph. Hmm now I >think about it a paragraph can span a pagebreak or a column break. That >might be the answer. A block is a paragraph. A paragraph can span a >pagebreak or column break. It would be good if one of the designers of abi >could provide some clues however (hint) :-) > >Cheers > >Martin

Eric W. Sink, Software Craftsman SourceGear Corporation

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