[NTG-context] spacing before items

Mike Cooper mike at murchisondrillingschools.com
Wed Jun 24 19:41:21 CEST 2020

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ntg-context [mailto:ntg-context-bounces at ntg.nl] On Behalf Of Hans Hagen
> Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 2020 12:50 AM
> To: mailing list for ConTeXt users
> Subject: Re: [NTG-context] spacing before items
> On 6/24/2020 12:00 AM, Mike Cooper wrote:
> >
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: On Behalf Of David Rogers
> >> Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 3:18 PM
> >>
> >>
> >> Mike Cooper <mike at murchisondrillingschools.com> writes:
> >>
> >>> Thanks Tomáš!
> >>>
> >>> 1.  Where can this solution be found?
> >>
> >>
> >> Mike, I know how you feel. 
>  >> David
> Indeed. It's all volunteer work that doesn't pay the bills. Sitting down
> and starting to write a big manual simply doesn't pay off so it has to
> happen in free time. And that being the case, it is more attactive to
> work on some new challenge.
> Concerning manuals: I sometimes wonder if they are really read. So, how
> to set up one that works for all, build up explanations, etc ... isn't
> it more about googling a solution nowadays (ok, not entirely true i
> guess, as one then has to learn how to distinguish the wrong solutions
> from the good, but i suppose one can just test it).

I started out maybe a little bit hodge-podge, looking through some documentation recommended to me.  The basic concept is very straightforward.  No problem.  But implementation has been extremely challenging (but it's probably just me!).  Then I was pointed to Henri Menke's "Definitive Guide" post.  I read the entire Excursion (though I confess I did not *practice* as I went along (partly because SciTe was such a pain)).  The Excursion is not for (true) beginners.  And, no offense, but I thought it was poorly typeset as well...

Then I went through Aditya's "amazing tutorial" (mostly with a good bit of help from Aditya just to be able to get started!) and definitely learned more.  But at the end I felt like it was mostly an exercise in "slow-motion copy/paste" (I retyped all the code).  Of course, when I got the code right, I got the intended output.  I did fiddle with options a little bit as I went.  No doubt, I should have done more.  There was too much of what I had "successfully" done that I still didn't really understand at the end of it.

> It has been said before: one can have manuals, wikis, mailing lists,
> journals ... once they cross the beginners level they also become large
> and hard to navigate. One can have 'beginners' and 'advanced' but who
> wants to be a 'beginner' ... when is the line crossed. Maybe on the wiky
> we should actually have that distinction.
> > Thanks David!
> >
> > I don't think I've ever been quite so frustrated at trying to learn anything else in
> my life!  If it wasn't required by my job, I wouldn't have made it past the first day or
> two (3 months ago).  But I'm slogging away and it's gradually coming together (I
> think).  I spent my whole day yesterday figuring out how to do some very basic
> formatting/layout that would have taken 5-10 minutes in Word or HTML/CSS.
> >
> > People have been very helpful and patient with me!!  Thanks to all of you for
> that!
> Let me challenge you: how would your solution translate to a wiki page
> for a beginner with the sam eproblem to solve ... content but also the
> 'how to get there aspect'

This is more general than about "my specific problem".  There have been a number of different ones.  They are all basic formatting/layout.  I've resorted to asking about a couple of them on the mailing list after no joy anywhere else.

Off the top of my head, I would suggest more explanation/description and especially more examples of what each option/key/whatever does.  I've always found w3chools.com to be especially helpful with HTML/CSS because they give plenty of examples and explanation.

I don't know if it's really feasible to do anything about it but another thing is the jargon.  I probably mainly think in terms of HTML/CSS lingo and then MS Word.  When I hunt through the wiki or the manuals or Google for solutions, I naturally use the terms I know.  But it seems that the things I've wanted are referred to differently in ConTeXt.  I spent *days* trying to figure out how to add more whitespace around a floated graphic (the default is too cramped in my opinion).  I finally just threw up my hands and decided that no one else has this opinion but me so nobody has ever "fixed" it and thus, no solution exists.

> > And thanks David for this explanation of the situation.
> There are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind when you
> start with something like context:
> - you often bring with your experience (and exposure) to different
> systems and these don't translate; recently i was playing with some css
> setup for a rather complex xml -> html mapping and things that would
> have taken me 5 minutes in tex costs me plenty of time in css due to all
> kind of interactions; just as with tex, one can end up with hacks found
> on the web (it was hobyism of course)

Sure.  I suppose this is the same as my "jargon" comment above.

I don't mean to be a jerk or anything.  I'm trying to learn this stuff.  It's just extremely frustrating...

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