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Divergence in menu appearance between Emacs Info and standalone Info

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Divergence in menu appearance between Emacs Info and standalone Info
Date: Wed, 04 Jun 2003 04:54:06 -0400

Emacs Info has a feature that hides some of the text in a menu.  As a
result, the explanation of menus in info.texi is not really accurate
for Emacs any more.  The message below explains the details.  The
question is what to do about this.

One idea is to take out the Emacs feature that hides this text, so the
text becomes visible again.  Another idea is to change the stand-alone
Info to hide this text too, and then change info.texi accordingly.

A third option is to put conditionals into info.texi and have
two versions of it, one for Emacs and one for standalone info.
But I think that divergence is probably a bad idea.

What do you think?

Meanwhile, Emacs already modifies the Info buffer for display, so
instead of making that text invisible, perhaps it should delete the
text and put the information from it into text properties of the menu
item names.

Date: Mon, 2 Jun 2003 23:45:56 -0500 (CDT)
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From: Luc Teirlinck <address@hidden>
To: address@hidden
CC: address@hidden
In-reply-to: <address@hidden> (message from Richard
        Stallman on Tue, 03 Jun 2003 00:06:44 -0400)
Subject: Re: Problems with info (emacs version)
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Richard Stallman wrote:

       1.  Easiest one to fix:


           which is used in the tutorial, *only* describes menus as they
           appear in the standalone info, not as they appear in the emacs
           version and the two are very different.

   Would you please tell me the specific differences?  I scanned through
   that none and did not notice anything incorrect.

Yes. From (info)Help-M:

       * Foo:  Node about FOO.      This tells about FOO.

     The subtopic name is Foo, and the node describing it is `Node about
  FOO'.  The rest of the line is just for the reader's Information.  [[
  But this line is not a real menu item, simply because there is no line
  above it which starts with `* Menu:'.]]

     When you use a menu to go to another node (in a way that will be
  described soon), what you specify is the subtopic name, the first
  in the menu line.  Info uses it to find the menu line, extracts the
  node name from it, and goes to that node.  The reason that there is
  both a subtopic name and a node name is that the node name must be
  meaningful to the computer and may therefore have to be ugly looking.
  The subtopic name can be chosen just to be convenient for the user to
  specify.  Often the node name is convenient for the user to specify
  so both it and the subtopic name are the same.  There is an
  abbreviation for this:

       * Foo::   This tells about FOO.

  This means that the subtopic name and node name are the same; they are
  both `Foo'.

My own remarks:

Note that this goes into quite some length explaining why the user
sees both a 

"*Foo:" and a "Node about Foo" and what the difference is,

but the user using Emacs, sees only:

"*Foo".  Nowhere is it told that ":   Node about FOO" is normally
invisible in Emacs.  The user looks for it, can not find it and does
not know what is going on.

       * Foo::   This tells about FOO.

  This means that the subtopic name and node name are the same; they
  both `Foo'.

Again, only:

* Foo is visible in Emacs, not the "::" The Emacs info user has no
  idea what all of this stuff about special meaning of "::" is about.

Of course, the entire discussion *is* correct if you know about the
invisible text.  One would not have to make a lot of changes in the
documentation if one would provide the user with convenient commands
in Info to toggle invisibility, say `v'. All one would have to do
would be to tell the user that in Emacs you first have to type `v' to
see the text being talked about.  I could easily implement such a
visibility toggling feature myself, if you would agree with it.



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