Subject: Re: Headers, footers, and tab stops for formatting
From: WJCarpenter (bill-abisource@carpenter.ORG)
Date: Sun Mar 25 2001 - 11:17:33 CST
rob> Treating them "just like any other paragraph" is the correct and
rob> most elegant solution for implementing headers and footers in
rob> code. But from the end-user's point of view, they are not just
rob> like any other paragraph. Rather than continuous, flowing text,
rob> they present information about the document (meta-data), like
rob> title, page number, and modification date. The simplest example
rob> would probably be the page number centered in the footer. But it
rob> is quite common for different bits of information to be center,
rob> left, and right justified on the same page.
I agree that most uses of header/footer fit this conception, and so it
should be fundamentally easy to do this by default. One harkens back
to troff's three-part header specifications.
I don't agree that it is always this way (I don't know if you were
actually claiming it was). It is common for a footer to be a complete
paragraph or more of boilerplate text, and that text really has
nothing to do with the document itself. (I'm thinking of various
legally interesting documents, where the footer is mostly a CYA
activity.) I don't think it would be a completely new idea, for
example, to have a table embedded in a header/footer.
The documents one tends to see these days are greatly influenced by
the implementation limitations of just about all word processor
software. When documents were hand-typed, there was a lot more
variation in format. Whether that variation is good or bad is context
dependent, but allowing that variation doesn't seem fundamentally bad
to me. We shouldn't do anything (except for lack of implementation
time) that fundamentally interferes with the ability to do massively
creative things in ways we don't expect today.
-- bill@carpenter.ORG (WJCarpenter) PGP 0x91865119 38 95 1B 69 C9 C6 3D 25 73 46 32 04 69 D6 ED F3
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