When you're creating a template, do you prefer to have a single tag per level of list and use overrides for the keep with next/previous to avoid the lone item at the bottom or top of a page, or do you prefer to have a separate tag for each, so that you have:
I'm going back and forth on this: do I want a shorter tag list, or do I want less manual tweaking? My usual preference is the latter as I think it's too easy to miss things when writing and editing, but I've had coworkers who weren't happy about all the choices this involved.
I prefer a single tag and less formats.
My reasoning is:
My first and last items may be alone and not on the same page as the other list items.
Still sometimes I have to set a paragraph to top of page, but I do this manually.
When the document changes, then I can remove all these manual page breaks by importing paragraph formats. With dedicated paragraph format I would have to search for them.
Still I would like to be able to search for these manual page breaks.
Our style guide mandates at least 2 list items at the top or bottom of a page if the list can't be kept all on one page. The only exception is if an item is long enough to split over the page break.
I use two ¶ styles: Bullets and BulletsLast, for example.
What I really want is the ability to ignore spacing btwn two styles with the same name—like Word and InDesign offer—so that I can handle all of the list spacing with a single style.
For a current project I use Bulleted.First to keep with above & below, and Bulleted for all others with no Keep, but all have generous Wid/Orph.
Orphaned last bullets aren't a real issue for this project, but B.F. could be used on the 2nd-to-last last to keep the last 3 together if needed.
I always architect projects for No Overrides. It's too easy to for them to vanish, particularly on projects with parallel architecture & content development. Had to radically change fonts at one point, and overrides can become little bombs when that's needed.
In fact, my current project policy is that each distinct project has a separate file, called template.fm, that contains all the doc file IDs, formats (with examples), variables, workflow steps, and whyfo details. I can Import Formats into the whole book from it, and it usually asks about overrides.
Perhaps I was just focused on making life easier, but I managed to banish the exquisite precision of :ul and :ul_last from my docs quite a while back :-} As far as I immediately remember, I have slightly less space between list items than between body paragraphs and apply a keep with next override to the last but one item when necessary – which, for whatever reason, rarely seems to be the case.
Just out of speculative interest, would working in a structured environment – which, in FrameMaker, I don't – make it possible to identify the context of each bullet and adjust spacing accordingly?
No idea, but I also don't work in a structured environment. I like to have things set up so that 99% of the time, there's a tag to address the situation. I hate overrides. They're bad practice.
In my case, I need to keep the first two list items together (to prevent the lone item at the bottom of a page) and the last two together (to prevent the lone item at the top of a page) and, I, too, prefer to keep the items a little closer together than the main body text. Also, the first list item has to stay with the preceding paragraph because it's an introduction into the list.
I hate overrides. I think I hate them more than I dislike having a long(er) catalog, especially since later edits to the document can change the need for overrides. I just wanted to see how others handled this and how they felt about overrides versus extra tags for better automation.