[reportlab-users] rl, foot notes or margin notes

Dinu Gherman gherman at darwin.in-berlin.de
Thu Apr 24 06:09:34 EDT 2014

Robin Becker:

> 1) How to indicate in the story / paragraph that a foot note or marginal is to be used. Personally I think it best to put the definition of the note into the text that it annotates, but perhaps there's a case for a specific note indicator story object. It's reasonable to suppose that things other than paragraphs might want to have foot notes eg table cells. Currently plain text cells don't allow for any kind of markup.

In DocBook (and LaTeX) there's a <footnote> tag, mainly inside <para> and <td> (table cells) if we ignore the rest of the DocBook complexity, see http://docbook.org/tdg/en/html/footnote.html And I guess this is where it belongs.

> 2) How to lay out the notes. This is more or less complicated by the notes needing to appear 'near' the referring object (I think it's almost always after). The problem is complicated by stylistic issues and coping with corner cases. Imagine the last just fitting paragraph on a page has a foot note. Presumably we need to defer the footnote to the next page. There's also the issue of the indicator to use ie a numeric superscript or special symbol and the limit on the size of footnotes on a given page. If we're doing multi-column pages should foot notes occupy the full page width or be conditioned by their column etc etc.

I banged my head around this a while ago. I was thinking/dreaming of a more dynamic/ambitious layouting where the frames can change depending on the story's content. With footnotes this could mean to split the current frame in two and pushing the footnote content into the second (smaller) one. Apart from the splitting dynamics one also would need a carry-over, repeating the same thing on the next page if some maximum available vertical size was exceeded during the first split... Marginal notes would be the same, but split horizontally with the added complication of placing them at the y-position where the <marginnote> tag, say, would appear in the paragraph.

Does that make sense? I think it sounds like a nice Robin-style challenge. ;-)



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