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Re: rethinking @def*

From: pertusus
Subject: Re: rethinking @def*
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 15:59:04 +0200

On Tue, Jul 26, 2022 at 04:18:51PM +0300, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
> > Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 14:53:02 +0200
> > From: pertusus@free.fr
> > Cc: bug-texinfo@gnu.org
> > 
> > On Tue, Jul 26, 2022 at 11:31:27AM +0000, Werner LEMBERG wrote:
> > > 
> > > ... I consider this a bad idea.  Whatever you are going to change, it
> > > will be backward incompatible, causing a lot of grief.
> > 
> > It is only backward incompatible in term of formatting, not in term of
> > Texinfo language or syntax (nor truely in term of semantics, as there is
> > no clear semantics for now).
> That is true, but since we've had the current behavior for decades,
> people jump through all kinds of hoops to get fancy results from these
> commands, and your changes will definitely change their output,
> sometimes in ways they won't like.

Depending on the case, it could also simplify the hoops people jump
through to get the result they like.

I agree that some users won't be happy with the changes in formatting.
But, in that case, I think that this is less problematic than keeping
unclear semantics and strange formatting as it is now.

Another possibility would be to change first the documentation, to
document the new behaviour to somehow 'warn' users that what they
thought fixed in the formatting may change.  For example, remove the
places where it is said that the argument is slanted, add a sentence
saying that "the argument may be in a typewriter font depending
on the processor" or something like that.  But I do not think that the
users will change anything before the formatting is actually changed

We (I) could also propose too help and volunteer to change the manuals
to accompany the change.  Maybe advertise it on some GNU lists, in
addition to the help-texinfo list.


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