description lists

pviton's picture

swp 6.0.27 on msWin

A lot of the shells have instructions telling you to
double-click to revise the label. In SWP6 this is not
necessary: the label appears in a yellow box, and
you can edit it just like any other bit of text.

I still don't see how to enter description lists
from scratch, and the Help file isn't useful here.
If I enter a blank line and choose DescriptionListItem
from the Para/List combo box, then I get a place to enter
the label and the text of the first item. So far so good.

If I then hit Return, I don't seem to get a way to
enter the next label+item, as with the other lists.
What I seem to get is a way to enter some text that
when typeset appears to be neither a label (not in bold)
nor (indented) text.

If instead I select the DescriptionLabel from the text
tag combo, I do inded get a yellow box. If I enter
something there and then some text to the right and
typeset, what I get is the label in brackets ( []s )
(and not in bold as you'd expect) followed by the text.
This doesn't look like the next description list item to me.

I think this needs to be clarified and/or fixed, and
if it differs from the way the other two lists work,
the Help file needs to explain it.

Finally, the help file says you can create a list item
by applying a list tag to an existing paragraph.
I tried this with the last paragraph (=line) of
the Std latex article and applied the DescriptionListItem
tag; and I don't think it works. If when you apply the
tag the cursor is after the word "class" in this paragraph
what you seem to get is:

"The document class"
[template for a description list item]
"base file for this shell ... "

which doesn't seem correct. If instead you
select the entire paragraph you
get a template for a new description list item
(see problems above) but the selected text isn't
part of it. So again the Help file isn't
quite correct.

Barry MacKichan's picture

The help file seems to be

The help file seems to be incorrect for applying a description list item to a paragraph. This will be fixed in the documentation.

What we are seeing here is the downside of preparing the documentation too early in the development cycle. As I said in another comment, I'm rewriting and greatly expanding the Creating Documents manual. The help files come directly from the manual, so they will also change.

Barry MacKichan's picture

Move to where you want the

Move to where you want the list.

Click on Description list item in the second tag dropdown. You will see an underbar and a colored background. Without moving the cursor, type the description. Use the right arrow key to move to the body.

I think this is what you have been doing.

Press Return. You are now set to enter the second paragraph of the description list item. If you are done, press Return again. The next description list item will appear.

If you are done with the list, press Return while an item is empty. The cursor will be in the original paragraph but after the list. If you want a new paragraph after the list, press Return again.

This behavior is identical to that of bulleted and numbered lists except for the binary nature of a description list item.

I'm in the process of rewriting the Creating Documents manual, and am currently in the list section, curiously. 



pviton's picture

Ok, got it --- this seems to

Ok, got it --- this seems to work.

What then is the purpose of the DescriptionLabel tag on the Text/FormattingTags combo? It doesn't seem that it would ever be used, would it, since it seems that you can enter everything needed for Description lists from the Para/List combo.

Barry MacKichan's picture

It is possible to enter a

It is possible to enter a description list item and to delete the description label -- usually by mistake. Applying the DescriptionLabel tag lets you get it back. True, it is not elegant and we may at some point write code to keep the description from getting deleted or getting inaccessible because it doesn't contain anything. Until then, it seems that it is sometimes needed.

The situation with the sectiontitle tag is almost the same, although in that case deleting the automatically-supplied tag is more likely to be done deliberately. Even so, you need a way to get it back.