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Re: Divergence in menu appearance between Emacs Info and standalone Info

From: Robert J. Chassell
Subject: Re: Divergence in menu appearance between Emacs Info and standalone Info
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 18:45:50 +0000 (UTC)

address@hidden wrote:

   In Galeon (Mozilla/5.0 Galeon/1.2.8) you can add the "Links" control
   element to the toolbar (Preferences/User Interface/Toolbars).

   An example page is this one:

Yes!  Thank you.  I had not realized that the W3C consortium had
included this in the current official recommendation.

Links like this should enable someone to write a program that does
regular expression searches within a multipage document, just like
`M-s' (Info-search) does in Info.

The main problem is that use of such links is voluntary, which means
many people won't bother.  If they write in Texinfo, then such links
can be generated automatically, with no extra effort on the part of
the author; but many people do not write in Texinfo.
(Hmmm... presumably such links can be generated automatically for
documents written in an appropriate XML, too, which helps.)
Regardless, links are a step forward.

Karl, could you modify `makeinfo' to generate such links automatically
when it creates a split HTML document (i.e., when you do not use the
`--no-split' option to `makeinfo'.)?

As far as I see the requirement is to include next, previous, and
contents pointers in the <head> ... </head> segment, right after the
<title> ... </title> segment, like this for the
`Forbidden-to-Study.html' file:

    <title>Rah! Rah! Forbidden to Study</title>
    <link rel="previous" href="Selfish-by-Law.html#Selfish%20by%20Law">
    <link rel="next"     href="discovery-cost.html#discovery%20cost">
    <link rel="contents" href="index.html">

At the moment, `makeinfo' does much of the work; it already finds the
next and previous pages when it creates a node line with next and
previous pointers.  `makeinfo' does not point you to the table of
contents page, but I think that is always in `index.html#Top'.

Here is the code that `makeinfo --html' currently generates for the
`Forbidden-to-Study.html' file:

    <div class="node">
    Node:&nbsp;<a name="Forbidden%20to%20Study">Forbidden to Study</a>,
    Next:&nbsp;<a rel="next" accesskey="n"
        href="discovery-cost.html#discovery%20cost">discovery cost</a>,
    Previous:&nbsp;<a rel="previous" accesskey="p"
        href="Selfish-by-Law.html#Selfish%20by%20Law">Selfish by Law</a>,
    Up:&nbsp;<a rel="up" accesskey="u"
        href="costs-of-restriction.html#costs%20of%20restriction">costs of

The idea would be to add a `links' to the <head> ... </head> segment
(but also keep the current pointers as shown).  This way, someone who
wrote a regexp searcher would know that it works for all such fully
conforming HTML documents, not only for those formatted by `makeinfo'
from a Texinfo source (which could be written now, but would have a
more limited number of users).

Earlier, address@hidden wrote

    ... but for info files remote access does not exist at all!  One
    must not compare info-search with features an arbitrary browser
    offers; those browser are not optimized for local file access ;)

This is partially true, but orthogonal to the issue.  (It is partially
false, because you can access Info files remotely if you have a fast
enough Internet connection.  I have done so using VNC.  But Info is
not designed for Internet connectivity other than NFS or VNC, so few
think of it as working remotely.)

For remote files, the key navigation issue is that you must download
them to search them.  That is to say, you must do this unless the file
provider has set up a regexp search engine for you on his site and you
have an interface to it.  Since I doubt the latter will happen, I
think that Web browsing will require downloading pages to search, and
that is unavoidable albeit awkward and slow for people like me, who
have slow net connections.

But the good news is that a next/prev/contents link structure enables
someone to write a search facility that enables you to navigate
through a World Wide Web document without the fear that the search
will spread through the Internet and not halt in a humanly reasonable

And it means that if you have a multi-page Web document on your site
-- such as most GNU distributions provide, like Debian I know for
sure, and Red Hat, I am pretty sure -- then you can read it through
page by page conveniently, like existing `makeinfo --html' produced

And if someone writes a regexp searcher, then you could navigate it as
conveniently as Info.

    Robert J. Chassell                         Rattlesnake Enterprises
    http://www.rattlesnake.com                  GnuPG Key ID: 004B4AC8
    http://www.teak.cc                             address@hidden

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