Wiki Page Formatting

Geert Janssens janssens-geert at
Wed Oct 20 03:58:22 EDT 2010

On Wednesday 20 October 2010, Yawar Amin wrote:
> Hi,
> On 2010-10-19, at 14:46, Thomas Bullock wrote:
> > […]
> >
> > Here's the question:  I have looked at Mediawiki
> > ( for help.  In the process
> > I found the reference link which is very helpful and shows where you
> > found your tips in your previous email.  However, I have not found
> > instruction how to set a column boundary thereby forcing line wrapping. 
> > Another way would be to activate a multiple column  feature if there is
> > one.
> >
> > Either of those would permit shorter lines, making it easier to read the
> > page.  I can read the same information in 2 or 3 columns more easily than
> > if it is in the present form.
> This is a very good point. Generally wikis are not known for beautiful page
>  design and typography; they seem to subscribe to the (rather
>  old-fashioned) idea that viewers browsing the page should apply their own
>  style settings to read comfortably.
This is not completely accurate in my opinion. Just like docbook, wiki's are 
designed to separate your document structure from your document presentation. 
The idea is that the writer focuses on the structure and content and doesn't 
have to worry about what it will look like.
To finally display the document, a stylesheet is applied (again, this is both 
for docbook and wikis). It's the stylesheet writer's responsibility to make 
sure the pages look good. So even a wiki has the potential to have beautiful 
page design and typography.

The unfortunate thing is, the GnuCash wiki clearly shows we have mostly 
technical contributors and few designers. In other words, the focus until now 
has mostly been on "it should work as efficiently as possible" and less on "it 
should look good and be pleasant to read".

Other than that, I agree with the original issue. The website's layout has 
much room for improvement. Are there any good webdesigners with lots of spare 
time in the room ? ;)

> That said, and this is probably off-topic, but I find the Readability
>  bookmarklet[1] invaluable nowadays when browsing most article-style web
>  pages, including wikis.
> Regards,
> Yawar
> [1]
Even if off-topic, I'm glad you sent it along. I didn't know about this one.


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