Re: Shift + enter option?

Subject: Re: Shift + enter option?
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 14:17:12 -0800

Geoff Hart wrote:

formatting treatment as the paragraphs that actually contain useful information.

<<I know that corruption is often stored in paragraph marks, but everything I find talks about that occuring in the final paragraph mark of a document.>>

Strictly speaking, it's formatting information (not corruption) that is stored in the paragraph marks

The final paragraph mark is a symbol with no special properties. You can replace it with another para, or do anything you want to it, except to delete it. Think of it as meta content--the document doesn't have to any content, but it has to have at least one paragraph.

The final paragraph mark is, in its problem aspect, a symbol that stands for the document object, not really a part of the document content. The document content is contained by the doc object. The document, as a container, can become corrupted at the binary level, as happens sometimes when Windows crashes with a document open in Word. You can sometimes overcome document corruption by moving the document content to a new document. However, it seems to me that the other Word objects ( for example, document sections) can also become corrupt, and this is why moving the content doesn't always overcome problems with doc corruption. My pet theory is that sections are a dumbed-down version of a document, and they share some of the document object's susceptibility to corruption.

I think the doc format is OK, as a mundane proprietary productivity app thang. BUT, I do agree with Geoff that somebody at Microsoft has complicated things tremendously by overloading the final paragraph symbol with baggage from the document container. Unlike Geoff, I don't lay the blame at a programmer's feet, for a lot of reasons but initially just because blaming the programmers is convenient, like profiling, but doesn't comprehend the process by which big software comes to life. I don't know if the .doc standard was invented by the programmer who coded it, but I sorta doubt it, so it makes no sense to bash on the programmer for a problem that is more likely to come down from an architect and/or product manager.

MS Office has fumbled around with a better solution, in the form of the symbol that stands for the end of a table cell--I think that a unique symbol for the end of a container is a step in the right direction, and I wish Word also used a unique symbol for the end of the document. (hen you could take the final paragraph symbol with formatting when you copy a corrupt document's content to a new document). But of course, while the cell-end symbol looks different from a paragraph mark, it is really just a paragraph mark! Run ASC() on a table cell end, it is ASCII 13, just like the paragraph mark. What's worse, Word's Search function will find a paragraph mark, but not the symbol at the end of a table. Feh, so who cares? Well, if you've ever tried to quickly fix a draft of a table where someone failed to put a period at the end of some sentences in table cells, you'll understand why you might want to search for the mark at the end of cells. It can be done in VBA, but it requires some expertise to locate the documentation for the functions and write the code. Why oh why don't they... oh hell. Just nevermind, what's the use of bitching anyway? I am s-o-o far past caring, but I did want to offer a better explanation of the problem of corrupt Word documents, programmers (not necessarily corrupt), ASCII codes (actually ANSI, I think), and what the problem might actually resolve to.

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


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shift + enter option?: From: Michelle Anderson
Shift + enter option?: From: Geoff Hart

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