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office-comment message

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Subject: Office requirements -- Text case attributes

I suggest that ODF Next include text case attributes and a
preserve-text-case attribute.

Text case is currently handled exclusively at the application level in
ODF implementations by keyboard editing and case conversion routines.
Automated conversion of multiple text strings to date has required
manual labor or scripts, a sub-optimal solution in a variety of
situations involving use of styles.

The approach would also require a preserve-case attribute for text
whose case shall be preserved when case attributes are applied to
surrounding text strings, e.g., for acronyms that must remain in All
Caps and for strings that need a combination of different cases, e.g.,
"eMAIL" or "DoJ" (Dept. of Justice).

I suggest the following case attributes for the English language:

-- lower case;

-- upper case (all caps);

-- initial caps (first letters of words capitalized other than
prepositions, conjunctions, etc.); and

-- sentence case (capitalization as required for a nomal sentence).


A user creates a complex word processing document with multiple
headings in styles that set the case attribute to All Caps. When the
user generates a table of contents, the headings' case is converted as
configured by TOC styles containing case attributes to either Initial
Caps or Sentence case.


A law firm uses document templates to generate motions and briefs for
court filings. The templates contain table cells in the case caption,
the document footer, and in the certificate of service that echo the
document title using a table formula. In the caption, the document
title appears in upper case. In the footer, the document title is set
in Caps and Small Caps using Initial Caps case. In the certificate of
service, the document title appears in Initial Caps without the small
caps attribute.


Automated re-purposing of word processor document content has been
hampered by the lack of case attributes for use in styles, resulting
in a need for manual processing of relevant document portions using
case conversion routines, either alone or via custom scripts applied
to style content.

Cascading properties could be added to the preserve-case attribute
adding case context sensitivity, e.g., do not convert DoJ to all lower
case when the lower case attribute is applied to the style; convert
DoJ to all upper case when the All Caps attribute is applied.

At the implementation level, the preserve-case attribute might be
integrated with the spell-checker's word list acronym entries (defined
as consecutive capitalized characters either standing alone or
separated only by periods).

Likewise, spell-checker dialogs might be modified to provide actions
for setting preserve-case properties and wrapping terms in the
preserve-case attribute using a word list/text case attribute record
maintained separately from the spell-checker word list.

Similarly, with a separately-maintained word list/preserve text
attribute records, the preserve-case attribute and its properties
could be applied automatically to text as it is created using
algorithms similar to those such as Spell As You Go word processing
features, automatically applying text case attributes and properties
without user intervention.

Using text case attributes and properties, with or without styles,
also allows a document author to preserve machine-processable
instructions for text case when content is recycled by others or by
automated processes, allowing the author most familiar with the the
document and its content subject matter to pass on garnered wisdom as
to proper case processing of text.

This suggestion if implemented would not eliminate the need for user
case conversion actions. E.g., many users want nothing to do with
styles. But it would definitely boost productivity for many who have
embraced structured documents.

Best regards,

Paul E. (Marbux) Merrell, J.D

Universal Interoperability Council

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