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Re: Any interest in using HTML for locally-installed Texinfo documentati

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Re: Any interest in using HTML for locally-installed Texinfo documentation?
Date: Wed, 03 Apr 2019 23:21:32 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/26.1 (gnu/linux)

Gavin Smith <address@hidden> skribis:

> On Tue, Apr 02, 2019 at 11:37:51AM +0200, Ludovic Courtès wrote:
>> (For some reason ‘i’ does open the index search box for me, but then
>> hitting enter doesn’t produce any effect.  The other navigation commands
>> work fine, though.)
> It works on Firefox 53, at least.

That’s with IceCat 60.6.1.

> Using JavaScript within a web browser has big drawbacks due to its 
> "sandboxed" nature.  (You can't access environment variables, for 
> example.)  However, we'd want to avoid having to re-implement too much 
> of the web browser; for example, input file parsing, text layout and font 
> rendering.
> One thought is that there may be other "layout engines" that could be 
> used, such as those in various GUI toolkits.

Yes, the GTK+ stacks has everything we need to display hypertext
content nicely, I believe.

>> When talking about ease of access, we can’t ignore keyword searches.
>> How would you do ‘info -k’?
> I don't know.  You would have to have some way of finding all the 
> installed manuals.

One option would be to have the option of letting ‘info’ parse HTML
files or a pre-built keyword database.

>> How would you even simply point your
>> browser to a specific manual?
> Maybe there could be a command for this within the browser.  There could 
> also be a command-line program that would launch the documentation 
> browser.

Sounds good.

>> What about inter-manual cross-references?
>> Would we need a mechanism similar to ‘htmlxref.cnf’ but that would
>> browse local manuals?
> Good question.  The inter-manual links in locally-installed HTML files 
> would have to be recognizable.  They could look like
> <a href="../texinfo/index.html#Top">Texinfo</a>
> instead of
> <a 
> href="https://www.gnu.org/software/texinfo/manual/texinfo/html_node/index.html#Top";>Texinfo</a>

Hmm, I’m skeptical.  :-)

And we haven’t talked about $INFOPATH yet.

>> What would be the recommended solution for Emacs
>> and console users?
> Info files would carry on as an option.


> I'm getting the feeling that we need a web browser, or something like 
> it, which can integrate with the operating system a lot more, without
> sandboxing or security restrictions.

Yelp apparently tried to address this very issue.  Perhaps we could
also check what’s missing to make it work correctly, or to make it work

One issue that Ricardo mentioned is text reflowing.  To allow the UI to
do that, we need to feed it with some markup language and not Info:
HTML, XML, Texinfo, etc.  Then it would have enough information to
provide a rich interface comparable to what Texinfo-JS gives us.

Sorry to answer with new questions!


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