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Run-in heads: Start a paragraph with a run-in heading

What options are there for using a heading to introduce a regular text paragraph and make it stand out?

A partial alphabet form the 14th century

Authors can use either standard PmWiki presentation markup or a special Wikipublisher structural extension.

The standard PmWiki way uses emphasis. In many cases, it is sufficient for the author’s purposes to use strong or strong emphasis inline markup. The advantage of this method is that it requires no special markup. The disadvantage is that text tagged in this way cannot be distinguished from other text tagged with the same markup. So an author is unable to use an external style sheet to control how run-in heads are presented.

Alternatively, define a wiki style. By creating a custom style, an author can make sure all run-in heads are presented as such and styled independently of other text. The disadvantage of this method is that an author can still use the style inappropriately. It describes how the text should look, rather than what it means. Wikipublisher currently has only partial support for wiki styles; it works best with structural markup that describes meaning.

Use the run-in head markup.

Wikipublisher provides a special line markup for run-in heads. By starting a line with a single ! and putting another ! at the end of the run-in text, this tells Wikipublisher to treat the text between the marks as a run-in head. Unlike the other 2 methods, it is semantically distinct and can’t be used inappropriately. The disadvantage is that some browsers, such as Firefox, don’t yet support the “runin” heading style attribute.

Section levels 4 and 5 run in automatically.

When Wikipublisher detects a heading nested at levels 4 or 5, as described in Tip 00005, it uses a run-in style, with vertical space above the text. Such headings are semantically distinct from paragraphs tagged with run-in head markup.

Is this markup really necessary?

Many authors never need this markup; for them, headings are sufficient. For others, it’s at best nice to have. On the other hand, it can be very useful to have a “labelled paragraph” that falls outside the regular heading hierarchy. When the text calls for it, nothing else does the job quite so well.

Usage tip.

The markup automatically inserts a full stop after the run-in head text.

Category: markup

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Page last modified on 06 October 2008 at 08:18 PM