Re: Header nesting style question

Chris Lilley, Computer Graphics Unit (
Mon, 11 Jul 1994 20:56:16 +0200

In message <>, Ken Fox writes:

> I have a document covering technical material. The outline is rather deeply
> nested (up to four levels.) In a paper document I'd have no problems

Well, few problems ;-)

> The document would appear as:

> <h1>Chapter</h1>
> <h2>Section</h2>
> <h3>Subsection</h3>
> <h4>Clarification</h4>

As you say "would appear" I presume you are still talking about the paper
document at this point.

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

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.

> This would appear as:

> <h1>Chapter</h1>
> <a href="section-number"><h2>Section</h2></a>

> It reads a lot like an annotated table of contents

OK so you have each chapter file that says

<h1>Parallel computers</h1>
<a href="mps"><h2>Message passing systems</h2></a>
<a href="vsm"><h2>Virtual shared memory systems</h2></a>
and so on...

> The question I have lies in the structuring of the section documents. Do
> those documents have initial headings at level <h1> or <h3>?

> I'm planning
> on repeating the <h2> heading that links to the section document.

There are two issues here - you want to repeat the section headings, and you
want to make them h2 like they were in the chapter files. Again, one decision is
not consequent on another.

Some options you have for the section files:

1) use h1 for the previous chapter head and h2 for the section heads

<h1>Parallel computers</h1>
<h2>Message passing systems</h2>
<p>Blah blah</p>

That certainly draws attention to the chapter title, to my mind more so than is
warranted. In the section files, it is the section title that is the important
thing - the chapter title is a navigational aid.

2) use h1 for the section titles, and a paragraph for the chapter titles

<p>[Up to <a href="blah">Parallel computers</a>]</p>
<h1>Message passing systems</h1>
<p>blah blah</p>

This lets you use h2 for subsections and h3 for clarification, assuming these
are all in the one file. If you put sections in separate files, you could have

<p>[Top: <a href="blah"><b>Parallel computers</b></a>]<br>
[Up to <a href="blah2">Virtual shared memory systems</a>]</p>
<h1>The KSR-1 system</h1>
<h2>Cache coherency issues</h2>

for example, using h1 again for the title of that page (in this case a
subsection) and h2 for clarification/sub-subsections

3) Use h1 for chapters, h2 for sections, h3 for subsections etc as if it were
all one monolithic document, but cut into pieces.

Especially if you split up into subsection files, this could look a bit odd; the
page starting up with an h3.

> Should this be the <title> or the first heading? Both?

Where titles are concerned, their main use seems to be as strings of keywords
which indexing programs can chew on. So put into your title whatever you want to
get hits on.

One idea is to cat the headers together, thus:

<title>Parallel computers</title>

<title>Parallel computers - Virtual shared memory systems</title>

<title>Parallel computers - Virtual shared memory systems - the KSR</title>

for chapter, section and subsection files respectively.

> 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

Use a conversion program. Please.

Chris Lilley
| Technical Author, ITTI Computer Graphics and Visualisation Training Project |
| Computer Graphics Unit, | Internet: |
| Manchester Computing Centre, | Janet: |
| Oxford Road, | Voice: +44 61 275 6045 |
| Manchester, UK. M13 9PL | Fax: +44 61 275 6040 |
| X400: /I=c/S=lilley/O=manchester-computing-centre/PRMD=UK.AC/ADMD= /C=GB/ |
| <A HREF="">my page</A> |