Re: Header nesting style question

Ken Fox (
Mon, 11 Jul 1994 22:03:17 +0200

I wrote:

> > I want to hyperlink to sections (possibly subsections too) instead of
> > creating giant chapter files.

Chris Lilley responds:

> I don't see how this is "instead of". You can link to sections, subsections, or
> clarifications if you want to, or not. You can have giant files, or split them
> up into smaller ones. While these are clearly interrelated issues in document
> design, one is not consequent on another.

Yes, you are correct. Certainly there can be inter and intra document
references. Hmm... another style question: Do people prefer one giant
document with internal references, or many small documents with external

> Some options you have for the section files:
> 1) use h1 for the previous chapter head and h2 for the section heads
> ...
> 2) use h1 for the section titles, and a paragraph for the chapter titles
> ...
> 3) Use h1 for chapters, h2 for sections, h3 for subsections etc as if it were
> all one monolithic document, but cut into pieces.
> ...

There are a lot of different ways of doing it. I was kind of wondering what
a nice consistent reader-friendly way of doing it is... How do you
structure your document headers? LaTeX to HTML preserves the relative
section sizes between chapters and sections. I've seen lot's of other
documents that don't, i.e. all documents start at <h1> regardless of whether
they are nested within a larger construct.

> > I want to provide consistent visual clues as to document structure
> Clearly this is a good idea
> > but I don't want to duplicate lot's of text.
> Why? You're not ...
> > The more duplicated text there is
> > the harder it will be for me to maintain.
> You are. You're going to do it manually, aren't you. No no no no

What does manually mean? Do you mean that I am going to think of it using
my head? Then yes. Type it by hand? Then yes. Make corrections by hand?
Then yes. Have my readers review it with their eyes? Then yes. (I do use
ispell though... ;-)

I don't know what manually means to you.

> Use a conversion program. Please.

There's nothing to convert because the document doesn't exist.

OH! You mean "don't use HTML to write your document because it's not
expressive enough." I thought that this might be a problem. I've finally
decided that a consistent style and the lemacs HTML mode might be sufficient.
HTML+ should improve things.

Don't get me wrong, I like to automate things. TeX does a very nice job of
automatically breaking lines and formatting text. A C++ compiler sometimes
does a very nice job of generating machine code. Lisp usually does a good
job at memory management. Certainly there exist tools to assist in
generating style-guide conforming documents --- but there needs to be a
style first, right?

You seem assume that given structure, you can emit style. While I feel that
this has truth in it, I'm not convinced. LaTeX to HTML is one of the better
translators I've used --- but it is very difficult to get a reasonable style
out of it. Consistent, yes. Blindly mechanical, yes. Good style, only

Maybe we should split this discussion into: (a) how do you use header
nesting? and (b) do you think HTML is expressive enough to write in?

- Ken

Ken Fox,, (313)59-44794
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