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Re: terminal escapes in Info files?

From: Oliver Scholz
Subject: Re: terminal escapes in Info files?
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 19:40:35 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.1002 (Gnus v5.10.2) Emacs/21.3.50 (windows-nt)

"Robert J. Chassell" <address@hidden> writes:

> Oliver Scholz <address@hidden> wrote
>     IIRC desctop environments like KDE or Gnome already use a browser
>     for their “help desk” ...
> Yes, they do; and that means that their online help is worse than the
> online help I read in the mid-1980s.  They have retrogressed a
> generation.

> At the very least, please keep Info up to the efficiency of the
> 1980s.

I had absolutely no intention to suggest anything to make the info
system worse. I love it by heart and despite it deficencies I find it
superior to any other documentation or help system that I know.

All I said is that a) the info file format should in the long run
support more syntactical information and b) that it is a good idea to
choose a markup in such a way that a browser would render it as
HTML. More precisely put:

I suggested a subset of HTML (XHTML compatible to HTML) with the
additional two conventions:

     1. Some of the markup is taken as providing the information
        necessary for the info reader (like linebreaks, indexes
        etc.). As it was discussed earlier in this thread.

     2. The file contains all the necessary whitespace characters, so
        that simply stripping the markup would result in a properly
        formatted plain text file.

All that a minimal conforming UA would have to parse is the markup
that is used for 1), it could then simply strip all the other markup
and dump it on the screen.

I believe that this is a way to get more syntactical markup with no
more work than what would be required for any other syntactical
markup. (That might still be too much, as Eli pointed out. But I
think, at least in the long run it should happen.)

If that is true, then I say that it is a good idea too choose HTML,
because some people could use their browsers to view the files and
other help systems could directly link to the files of the info
system. This is surely suboptimal, but if somebody really wants to use
her browser, there is no need to raise artificial impediments.

[After all, being an Emacs user of the “I do everything inside of
Emacs” sort, I can imagine that some people would prefer to use the
browser with which they are already familiar. It is a good thing if
you can limit the number of applications you use and thus the number
of different user interfaces. People that do not use Emacs, have not
seen the light yet. But what is there to do other than trying to
spread the gospel?]

Oliver Scholz               8 Brumaire an 212 de la Révolution
Taunusstr. 25               Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!
60329 Frankfurt a. M.       http://www.jungdemokratenhessen.de
Tel. (069) 97 40 99 42      http://www.jdjl.org

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