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Re: Warn about invalid node names

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Warn about invalid node names
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2013 18:59:17 +0300

> Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2013 11:07:31 +0200
> From: Patrice Dumas <address@hidden>
> On Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 05:42:15AM +0300, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
> > 
> > Correction: users don't like unhelpful warnings.
> But the definition of unhelpful may be rather subjective and use-case
> dependent.

In this case, "unhelpful" means gratuitous, i.e. issues that in
practice don't really cause any trouble at all.  They are theoretical
problems, in that Texinfo usage is borderline or exploits
implementation details.

> > If the node names are invalid for Info, they are by definition
> > invalid, and need to be fixed at the Texinfo level.
> I disagree, the definition of invalid node at the Texinfo level is a
> node name that is not parsed as such (this is especially possible in
> @menu entries).  As I said, it is always possible to protect a node
> name at the Texinfo level.  An invalid node at the Info level is 
> different, as there is no possibility to protect characters that have 
> a meaning in node lines or menu.  Given the historical link between Info
> and Texinfo, it is true that, in general, an unprotected node name
> invalid in Texinfo is also invalid in Info -- though this is not the
> case in @*ref in general.  This does not make invalidity in Texinfo 
> and Info the same.
> > Texinfo is a language that supports all of its output formats; if one
> > of those outputs is broken by a node name, the node name must be
> > fixed.
> DocBook is also easily broken, by having @contents someplace else than at
> the beginning or end of the document, and same for @printindex.  We
> added a warning for @contents, but then removed it.  
> It is always possible to add warnings specific of converters, but I 
> would like to avoid that as much as possible, as I think that it is
> confusing to have different warning messages for different output
> formats.

Suit yourself, but in this case I think you hide from users
information that would be extremely useful, and that is not easy to
discover otherwise.  Many people are totally unaware of these
limitations, even though the Texinfo manual announces them for years.
By not warning about these, we proliferate invalid manuals.

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