[sword-devel] Markup Options

Greg Hellings greg.hellings at gmail.com
Wed Dec 1 21:32:04 MST 2010

On Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 9:25 AM, Ben Morgan <benpmorgan at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Greg,
> I agree the mechanism is simple enough; the ramifications are potentially
> not. Personally, I would mostly prefer that modules cannot provide their own
> stylesheets. On the web, every site has its own style; in print, each Bible
> has its own style. But when different Bibles are gathered together (say a
> print 4-version Bible) they all use the same formatting. Just so with our
> software - a consistent look throughout different Bibles is important, and
> having each module specifying what font it wants and size and colour has too
> much potential to lose consistency throughout the application.
> Your particular problem, Greg, where you wanted to duplicate the look and
> feel for modules as compared to existing systems, would be better
> addressed I feel by allowing the user to specify their own stylesheet,
> rather than per-module styling. This would still maintain a consistent look
> and feel across all modules.

User-specified stylesheets would not help me much at all.  Since each
module has its own look and feel that it needs to maintain.  Yes,
there is a certain uniformity to them, since they largely all come
through the same publisher, but there are differences - differences it
would be ridiculous to ask the user to try and specify out of the blue
(our target audience with these modules are people who are largely
without technology at all except for when they sit in front of the
Bible app we provide them with).  Instead, each module came with its
own layout and styling and should maintain it.

Your print analogy is perfect here, but I think you draw the backwards
conclusion from it.  Every print Bible has its own style, layout,
formatting, etc.  In the same way, every module should have its own
styling, layout and formatting.  When a publisher creates a 4-in-1 or
8-in-1 print, then they hold the prerogative to determine a basic
formatting for all of them.  Likewise, every SWORD module should have
its own styling unless the user is viewing it in parallel with other
modules.  By forcing the styling to be placed inline, you are
surrendering that ability.  Now, I just place my styling inline and it
gets foisted on the parallel display and individual displays alike.
It looks great in the individual display but messes up the parallel
display.  With external stylesheets you avoid that by simply opting to
exclude it from parallel displays and inserting it during solo

> I'm all for giving the application and user more control; I'm just not
> convinced we should give module creators this level of control. I fear
> per-module stylesheets would be somewhat brittle, liable to be targeted at a
> particular frontend (which is what Jon was saying above), and likely to
> reduce the consistency in the interface. That said, I can see there could be
> a few cases where it might be necessary - say if a publisher insisted that
> their Bible look the way their print one does - but I would prefer
> consistency to each Bible looking like their print counterpart.

This is exactly the scenario I am in.  The publisher is insisting that
these modules look the same way in BibleTime and Xiphos as they do in
Logos.  So I force the style inline and take away control of the
display from both the application and user.  What I am offering is a
way to make my job easier (I only have to produce an external
stylesheet which can easily be adapted to an OSIS source later when
these modules go that direction) AND it returns control back to the
user and application by allowing them to opt-out of the stylesheet
when it is inappropriate - the same way web browsers opt out of screen
stylesheets when printing.


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