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Building a Better Structured Editor

Lists Within Structured Documents

This post begins a series on the topic of lists within structured documents. Lists are an indispensable part of most documents. Lists can take different forms — unordered lists (e.g. bullet lists), ordered lists (e.g. numbered lists) and nested combinations of lists. There are significant differences in how lists are handled across different authoring tools and how they are represented in different markup languages (using this term very broadly).

We will examine lists in:

  • Word and RTF
  • HTML
  • InDesign
  • TEX and LaTEX

We will review the list model in each of these systems and compare the similarities and differences. Finally we will propose a common list model which can capture the essential features of lists, sufficient for interchange between systems and which can be used as the list model in a structured editor.

In the next post we will look at Lists in Word and RTF.