[sword-devel] proposed patch: adding n=X marker content to footnotes and xrefs

Troy A. Griffitts scribe at crosswire.org
Sat Feb 11 10:43:01 MST 2012

Er, sorry about that.  I was writing 2 emails at the same time and 
tacked the end of one to the middle of this one and sent this one off... :)


On 02/11/2012 06:25 PM, Troy A. Griffitts wrote:
> Dear Greg,
> I respect your opinion, but... you're wrong ;)
> None of the arguments given are persuasive to me.
> 1) footnote are for external reference.
> This cannot be true if the software application always starts with
> generating their own footnotes at the start of the text.
> For example. If I ask to see John.1.1-7 and footnotes are labeled A, B,
> C, D, E, F, G
> Then I ask to see John.1.2-8 and footnotes read A, B, C, D, E, F, G...
> as with every online software I've seen which supplies independent
> footnote labels for the NASB, this means that the software is NOT using
> the supplied labels, but generating their own.

The only software I could find which actual retains labels for any text 
was bible.org showing their NET bible-- which is the same exception I 
quoted in previous reply on this thread.

2) publisher's wishes.

I do not presume to think that Lockman wants us to display their labels 
when displaying their text digitally.  In fact, I would bet that if you 
ask them, they wouldn't care one way or another.  They probably encode 
their text with labels because they need them when they go to print.

*) other things.

I don't personally think I know how a module should be displayed.  I 
know how I WOULD WANT a module displayed TO ME as a user of software, 
and when I write software, this is how I tend to write it.

Every time I see a unique letter or number label next to a footnote, I 
immediately start scanning the page to the find the counterpart 
explanation!  This is a jerk reaction from reading print (which I still 
do quite often).  But when I see a symbol marking a hover-over help, I 
immediately know I should hover to find the body of the footnote.

And I still disagree with you that module author wish to retain their 
own style (or should want to retain their own style).  I hear from 
module publisher that they simply want their content presented 
professionally and represents their intention for the content.  None 
have ever tried to dictate to me specific visual attributes they need 
attached to content.  Think of all the other attributes a print 
publisher attaches to content: 2 column, center-row footnotes, page 
content start and end summary lines at the top.  We write software where 
these things don't make sense.  I would tend to place footnote labels in 
this bucket.  I understand why others disagree with me.  I want to give 
us both the ability to display things how we think best.

Hope this makes sense, and you know I tell you that you're wrong all the 
time because I love you ;)


> Your 2 patches applied and built cleanly. Thank you! We're moving over
> to ga1 (+ your patches) this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.
> Thanks again for your help,
> Troy
> On 02/11/2012 04:27 PM, Greg Hellings wrote:
>> I just wanted to reply to the following by Troy and also to his
>> comments in #xiphos regarding this topic
>>> BibleCS, per my preference, only shows hover-over symbols for the
>>> note or cross reference, and does not
>>> include the 'n' label. BibleCS uses different filters though, so not
>>> affected.
>>> SWORDWeb will be affected.
>>> My thought on this is similar to strongs. Don't show the numbers.
>>> They are left overs from the era of print-
>>> only.
>>> The exception use case is possibly our NET module which has a
>>> commentary accompaniment module
>>> which might refer to footnotes by label. If I remember correctly.
>>> So, I would like the choice to not have the label for the frontends I
>>> maintain, but if users really want to see
>>> the label, I could be swayed on this point, wearing my frontend
>>> developer hat.
>> I see both this and previous discussions regarding module-provided
>> stylesheets as being symptomatic of the same question: Who owns
>> content and is responsible for its display? Troy, and others here,
>> seem to be of the opinion that what the frontend developer wants is
>> the be-all-end-all and that the wishes of the module creator can and
>> ought to be ignored completely. If we want to attract major text
>> publishers, I'm not sure this is the attitude we ought to have.
>> What I have tried to propose before with CSS, and what Karl has
>> proposed here with footnote and cross-reference notes is that the
>> application ought to provide good defaults (generated cross-reference
>> and footnote markers when they are lacking) but to honor the module
>> creator's request when it is given. The n=X attribute on OSIS exists
>> exactly for the purpose of giving the module creator power over his
>> footnote markers. If our applications ignore that, then it would
>> properly be categorized as a shortfall in our support of OSIS. Far
>> from being a "feature" it is, actually, a bug. Publishers are likely
>> to feel the same in some circumstances.
>> Lack of support for n=X and for module-supplied styles was a major
>> reason for the LSDevLinux (portion of Wycliffe I work with) deciding
>> to use Xiphos instead of any of the other SWORD applications. They saw
>> that all the other applications completely ignored what they, as the
>> module creators, wanted to do with THEIR content and chose an
>> application that did not ignore their wishes. In #xiphos Troy cited
>> various online publications of Bible texts as being his validation for
>> ignoring the n=X attribute. While this is perfectly valid for a text
>> with footnotes restarted on each page (as is typical of print Bibles -
>> they tend to have footnotes per page and they restart at the beginning
>> of each new physical page or spread) it is not valid for texts where
>> endnotes or footnotes-per-chapter are used. In cases like this the
>> default behavior is supposed to be overridden by the n=X attribute
>> marker, allowing the content publisher to specify "This is footnote 1,
>> this is xref A, this is footnote 1b" etc. But Troy wants to completely
>> disregard that wish. Why do you think you know better than the module
>> creator?
>> The purpose of the application ought to be to provide valid defaults
>> (generate markers when they are missing), to prevent display of
>> components which break functionality (e.g. large images on a small
>> form-factor screen), and possibly to give the user the option of
>> turning on and off behavior like this. It should not be to render
>> impotent the content developers. If we start doing that, we will end
>> up with the likes of WinMo IE from back in the 5/6 version area where
>> IE displayed nothing but basic HTML and was therefore ignored. Content
>> publishers couldn't make what they wanted and users couldn't choose to
>> enable or disable features they wanted. Let's not end up like that and
>> let's give our module creators the power we advertise (through OSIS
>> support).
>> --Greg
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