A Gentle Introduction to Lo

lo was designed from the start as the basis for a hypertext composers' notational shorthand, or punctuation system.

It is intended to be easy to type during free flow composition, and to be visually sparse and intuitively understandable. lo deals only with typographic presentation. Linking, graphic, and semantic encoding are dealt with elsewhere in the light system.

  • Paragraphs are separated by blank lines. Trailing space is ignored, so if a line appears to be blank (i.e. it contains only spaces or tabs) it is blank;
  • Leading space is used to indicate quotes and lists. It assumes your editor is set to default tabs of 4 characters, by default.
  • A paragraph which is merely indented is treated as a quote.
  • Indented text which is also bulletted with one of the following characters in the set { -:="+ } is considered to be an item in a list.
  • Indentations may be nested and lists may contain new paragraphs.
  • A line of text underlined by four or more conseqitive { .=-_ } is considered to be a headline of level 1-4.
  • A line of text consisting of asterisks is considered to be ruler.
  • Two hilighting conventions are supported to express normal character attributes such as italics as either =italics= or [i[italics]i].
  • Comments may be either stripped from the HTML output (by placing a "#" character in column one, or converted into HTML comments (by surrounding with {# and #}.
  • Various other specialized conventions are also specified for importing and exporting text and properly converting text in special coding conventions such as line-for-line and preformatted text, as well as code listings and HTML and light sample text.

    In general, an effort is made to remain fully complementary to HTML -- HTML expressions should pass through the lo filters unchanged; allowing the systems to be mixed at the convenience of the composer.

    This system attempts to be a particularly convenient mode of expression for e-mail which may or may not eventually be rendered as HTML, a convenient way of dealing with submitted FORM content, and a generally intuitive approach to basic typographic elements, without overwhelming the writer with too much in the way of syntactic formalism.

    To get a quick idea of what lo looks like, check out the source for this page.


    lo version 0.94 patch 134/026
    24 June 1997