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Re: the defaults for `info`

From: Benno Schulenberg
Subject: Re: the defaults for `info`
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2007 22:38:02 +0200
User-agent: KMail/1.9.7

Eli Zaretskii wrote:
> > Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2007 00:01:50 +0200
> > From: Benno Schulenberg <address@hidden>
> > Well, 'man man' gives me the man page of `man` the program, but
> > 'info info' does not give me the Info document about `info` the
> > program.  Sure, 'info info-stnd' would give me that, but who is
> > ever going to guess that?
> You shouldn't need to guess.

Ogottogottogot.  Come on: 'info gawk' gives you the full manual of
the program `gawk`, 'info grep' the full manual of the program 
`grep`, 'info tar' the full manual of the program `tar` -- so one 
expects 'info info' to produce the full manual for the program 
`info`, the standalone Info reader.

> I think it's reasonable to have the reference to info-stnd after
> explaining the basic commands and features of the Info system.

I think it's unreasonable, it is awkward, it is obstructive.

What would be reasonable is to have the tutorial as a separate 
document, with a link to it somewhere in the first few lines of the 
basic 'info info' document.  But it is not necessary, it can fit 
quite well in the complete Info document.

> > (<H> in `info` is far too complex
> What is complex about it?  How would you suggest to make it
> simpler?

It is complex because 1) it needs to explain how to quit this help, 
2) the "selecting other nodes" comes first, instead of the more 
basic "moving within a node", 3) instead of just <Down> an <Up> it 
says "ESC ESC [ B" and "ESC ESC [ A", 4) it doesn't mention that 
<Space> is a synonym of <PgDn>, 5) it mentions <g> in the third 
group of commands, but this really is far from a basic command,
6) it describes </> with two lines of text, where just one would
do fine, 7) it mentions that "The current search path is...", 
something completely irrelevant, 8) it mentions (backward-char) and 
(forward-char) -- but this is an Info reader, not an editor,
9) then it finally mentions <Ctrl-g>, the command to abort a search 
command, 10) then it mentions TAB again -- how is this different 
from the first one?  11) it mentions LFD and RET separately, when 
they are exactly the same, 12) it uses obscure abbreviations like 
LFD and RET instead of more common names like Enter and Return,
13) it goes on for 350 more lines.

And all this in just a half-screen...  While skimming through this 
command summary, I have no need for the text of the current manual; 
`info` should default to using full-screen for showing this summary.

And it should bind <h> to (get-help-window) by default, and <Ctrl-h> 
to the Tutorial: the simplest command for the simple stuff, more 
frequently used, and the slightly more involved command for the less 
often needed stuff.

> > when you press <Q> it quits the whole Info reader instead
> > of just the help, even when --vi-keys is in effect.)
> The way to quit Help is spelled out on the first line of the Help
> display.

I can read!  Compare: in `less` <q> quits help _and quits the 
program, in `vim` :q quits help _and quits the program, in `nano` 
^X quits help _and quits the program.  So I expect the same key 
that quits `info` itself to quit its help too.  If it is not 
possible to configure things thus, ...

> > a list with just three columns: action, default key, vi-like
> > key.
> Wouldn't this make the list even more complex,

Which list?  There is no such list now, not in the Info manual, 
which is what we were talking about here.  

> by cluttering it 
> with bindings half of which is not interesting to the user?

Look what is in the manual now!  One example:

<NEXT> (an arrow key) (`scroll-forward-page-only')
<C-f>, vi-like operation
<f>, vi-like operation
<M-SPC>, vi-like operation
     Shift the text in this window up.  This is identical to the
     <SPC> operation above, except that it never scrolls beyond the
     end of the current node.

This is useless to everyone.  Instead it should just say:

<PageDown> / <Ctrl-v>  (`scroll-forward-page-only')
     Shift the text in this window up -- like <Space>, except that
     it never scrolls beyond the end of the current node.

For the vi-like bindings, a summary at the bottom of the node would
suffice, with just a bunch of simple lines like this:

<f> / <Ctrl-f> / <Alt-Space>  (`scroll-forward-page-only')

(By the way, <NEXT> is not an arrow key, not to normal users in any 
case; and why is it called <NEXT> here instead of <PgDn> as in the 
help summary?)

> > Also, --vi-keys does not switch cursor-movement-scrolls on; it
> > should.
> That's because Less and other pagers behave like that.  `j' moves
> one line forward, `k' one line backward.

What I meant is: <j> and <k> should cross node boundaries.  There is 
a reason why http://www.gnu.org/software/texinfo/manual/info-stnd/ 
offers the manual both as a node per page _and as one single page: 
some people prefer to be able to scroll through the entire text
with just one single movement.

> It's hard to satisfy everybody, but you have the infokey utility
> that you can use to rebind the keys as you wish.

Certainly.  What I'm asking is to give `info` more sensible defaults 
-- defaults that are similar to those of programs unlike Emacs.  
Emacs users won't use `info`, the standalone reader is there mostly 
for the other users.


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