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Re: terminal escapes in Info files?

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: terminal escapes in Info files?
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2003 21:19:00 +0900
User-agent: Gnus/5.1002 (Gnus v5.10.2) XEmacs/21.5 (celeriac, linux)

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

    Robert> I still fail to understand why anyone would want to make
    Robert> the Info markup language look like a subset of HTML

I don't.  Personally, I would prefer that documentation authors
learned to use their natural languages to express these things
clearly, with the aid of conventions such as RFC 2119.

But it seems we want more kinds of semantically significant markup
(and such markup is probably a more effective means to clearer
documentation than hoping that documentation authors will apprentice
themselves to poets and novelists, or that poets will start writing
programs to document).

I don't see a good argument for extending the traditional Info markup
that way, especially not by creating yet another non-standard markup
language.  There should be no need for texi2html or makeinfo --html;
the fact that we've been forced to accept such abominations means we
screwed up somewhere.  Consider how successful the man reader is in
standalone Info; I only realized what was happening a few weeks ago
;-), but already I'm mostly trained to type "info" instead of "man".
But I can't do that with (say) the Common Lisp Hyperspec.  That's
Horribly Wrong[tm].

We should work to make good navigation a part of all documentation,
rather than adding "catch-up" presentation features to the ever-
smaller fraction of the body of documentation accessible to Info
browsers.  People should be writing to the authors of "standard" HTML
documentation asking them to provide the HTMLInfo browser navigation
features that "official GNU" documentation does.  Having "ESC<bold>"
sequences in Info documentation is not going to do that.

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.

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