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Subject:Re: Vars in API docs & code formatting From:John Cornellier <John -dot- Cornellier -at- PARIS -dot- IE -dot- PHILIPS -dot- COM> Date:Tue, 6 May 1997 10:43:05 +0200
I reason that italics are best to denote variables, because:
a) using extra chars, (e.g. rm <filename>) clutters up the page & is
ambiguous. If users didn't read "text conventions" blurb at beginning
of manual, they might think they're meant to type the angle brackets,
quotation marks, whatever.
b) italics cannot be used in a command line prompt, so cannot be
construed to be something the user should enter.
c) not marking them at all would be confusing.
d) Checking the "text conventions" in a random selection of manuals
within 3 metres of my desk, I see the MS stuff has bold for menu items
& buttons, and italics for variables. Ditto ProComm Plus (1991
version).... I have an HP scanner manual with italics for menu items &
buttons, and bold for variables.
e) angle brackets or whatever might conflict with a char in syntax,
i.e. what if they actually have to put an angle bracket in a variable?
IMO using chars to denote vars is old & has been replaced by the above
described char formatting.
BTW you might put lines of code in courier or monospace font to make
it look like it looks on screen. Good side effect: if you're using
Frame the spell checker does NOT check spelling in txt in
ZapfDingbats, Symbol, WingDings, Monotype Sorts, as defined in
John -dot- Cornellier -at- Paris -dot- IE -dot- philips -dot- com
____________________________ Separateur Reponse ________________________________
Objet : Variables in API documentation
Auteur : TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU a #SMTP
Date : 06/05/1997 00:03
I've gotten into heated debates with co-workers over this one and
wanted some opinions.
When referring to a variable such as a filename, do people still use
angle-brackets, do they use italics, nothing at all, or do they use
For example, would you use:
a) rm <filename>
(using angle brackets that are not supposed to be typed as part of
b) rm *filename*
(where the asterisks here are denoting italicized text)