More formatting controls for books

Discussion in 'Wishlist Requests' started by redfish, May 21, 2019.

  1. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    I recently made a Wishlist post pointing out sometimes its hard for players to work within the constraints of the 8,000 char limit and suggested some type of 'markdown' format to condense the length of tags.

    Another similar issue with the character limit is that a lot of book formatting that might used to make the text clean and presentable has to be controlled by putting extra spaces or carriage returns, which takes up more characters. Moving something to the next page requires carriage returns and centering or right-justifying text or putting something in tabular form requires lots of spaces. And so on...

    But it would be nice to be able to move text to the next page with a simple 'page break' tag. Or to be able to make sure certain text is never broken up between pages with a 'no-break' tag. Or to be able to center or right justify text with alignment tags. Or to be able to use the Tab character to put text in tabular form.

    Another thing that would be useful is some type of ability to create section dividers -- something that would function like the horizontal rule in HTML but work more similar to how 'book ornaments' were used in older books. In French, these were called 'vignettes' and and had various more specific names if they were used for other purposes; for instance, as borders. Some examples,


    Sometimes personally I'll divide text in a book by using a string of asterisks of a certain length, for instance "* * * * *". In older books, the printer would have a list of ornaments that could be strung together similarly for that purpose.

    To start off with, something that would be cool is if for the purpose of writing books and notes, we were given special ornaments/dingbats that were useful for the game. For example: the moon phases, an ankh, the virtue symbol, symbols of all the individual virtues, etc. Printers would also typically provide these types of things as symbols, 'signes' in French. Examples,


    But it would also be nice to have a tag that allowed us to use any such character, including an asterisk, as a repeated ornament and divider, because it would also save characters and make formatting earlier. Such that I might be able to automatically repeat an ornament for the whole length of the book page, or repeat it only certain number of times and have options to align it left, center, or right and follow it with a carriage return.

    Bulleted and numbered text would also be useful and save characters.

    The last thing I would like to suggest is something like small caps, not necessarily because mixed case small caps is all that important, but sometimes for clean and readable formatting, its helpful to have capital letters in a smaller size than the large caps. This makes for good headers and such.
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  2. Vladamir Begemot

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    Duuuuuude! This is the real reason I only publish my mail order catalog once in a blue moon. Having a right justified price column takes sooooooo long!
  3. AoiBlue

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    As of symbols, all those symbols are provided by some modern UTF-8 fonts. For instance, Noto has a nearly complete set. If you have a good UTF codepage character map program you can see all of them. (Note that the private use areas are not standardized, and contain things specific to the fonts on your computer). There are even things like Egyptian Hyroglyphs and Runic built in.

    Noto has almost every character represented in it's extended package (The full set including south-east Asia, African, Indigenous and CJK fonts contains multiple font files, of course.) Noto is available in several popular "standard" modern typeface styles. (Serif, Sans, Mono, Mono-Sans)

    There is also a much newer standard for emoji sized icons in fonts. Noto has such a set (In Noto, but it's not the biggest. The font with the largest number of such icons is the Twitter standard font. The Github standard font has more technical icons, but fewer total icons.

    Sanitized limited dialect RTF (Rich Text Format) can be easily converted into HTML5 using only HTML5 XML extensions and CSS. Literally no scripting required. You probably can find a template around the web, likely in the set of W3 demos for using CSS/XML extensions to HTML5.

    You could also simply use a prebuilt HTML5 subset. There are a few standard ones you can use. (Most of them contain the shared elements between RTF and HTML5 for obvious reasons).

    The other option is LaTEX, which almost any word processor can output. This too can be converted to HTML5 with widely available scripts. LaTEX allows for very advanced typsetting and is considered a professional publication language. Many technical documents and scientific documents are published in LaTEX before being exported to more widely used viewer formats such as PDF, EPUB or HTML5.

    Most word processors can export either of these options. Another option is to use prebuilt web widgets, but this requires getting the in game browser used for the map working better in Linux.

    Addition of SVG graphics and even PNG/JPEG graphics support would be nice as well. It should be compressed to LZOP, LZip, BZip2 or GZip, Interestingly, inlined base64 suffers almost no loss over binary inclusion on PNG and JPEG graphics when using any of these formats.

    Total book size should be limited to 1MB for obvious reasons, a standard note should be limited to 64KB, there should be an addition of a "printed note" that can be up to 256KB allowing for more graphics.
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
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