Common Desktop Environment: Help System Author's and Programmer's Guide

Shorthand Markup

Shorthand markup is a streamlined tag set designed for authors who are using a standard text editor to "hand-tag" information. Shorthand markup provides several shortcuts. First, it minimizes the use of end tags. For example, you do not need to enter end tags for chapters, sections, or paragraphs. In addition, when possible, intermediate tags are automatically assumed. For instance, the chapter and section elements allow you to omit a <head> tag; you just type your headline.

Shorthand markup axlso simplifies the markup for many inline elements as well as stylistic changes. Rather than entering a begin and end tag, vertical bars are used to delimit the text like this:

<element| ... text ... |

For example, here's the short form of the <book> element shown previously:

<book| Geographical Survey of Northern Wisconsin|

If the element has parameters, they're entered before the first vertical bar like this:

<element parameters| ... text ... |

Some elements support an even shorter form where the start and end tags are replaced with a special two-character shortcut. For example, the <emph> (emphasis) element, whose normal syntax looks like this:

<emph>  ... text ... <\emph> 

can be entered using this shorthand form:

!! ... text ... !!

Chapter 3, Writing a Help Topic, introduces shorthand markup and gives examples of the most frequently used elements. Chapter 5, HelpTag Markup Reference, provides an alphabetical list of elements and describes each element in detail.