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Re: A new online publishing tool for Texinfo documents.

From: Robert J. Chassell
Subject: Re: A new online publishing tool for Texinfo documents.
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 19:21:27 -0500 (EST)

Kevin Rodgers <address@hidden> asked

   Why can't ange-ftp, tramp, or http-get be used to retrieve remote
   Info files for local browsing within Emacs?

Because all the processing is done on the local machine, so for some
actions, like navigating via search the whole file must be downloaded.

Info can have a slow connection between the display and the rendering
engine, but presumes a fast connection between the rendering engine
and the source of the Info document.

On the other hand, a Web browser usually has a fast connection between
its display and the rendering engine -- it is very hard to use a mouse
with a slow connection, and commonly used Web browsers use mice -- but
in most cases, a Web browser has a slow connection between the
rendering engine and the source of the HTML: the bandwidth is that of
a telephone dial up line.  People with wider bandwidths make up a
small fraction of the over all Internet population.

The idea for this new tool, among other goals, is to cause the
computer holding the source of the HTML to do some of the work on the
document, such as search through multiple files that make up the
document.  This requires a CGI script.

The Info system could be enhanced to do the same -- at least, I think
so.  Can anyone think why, if some of the work were done by the the
device that provides the Info document, you could not run Info
remotely over a slow connection between its rendering engine and the
source of the Info document?

The point with this proposal is that currently, HTML fails as a
documentation source in its most common situation, which is with a
dial up.  The goal is to make an HTML expression of a Texinfo manual
do as well as Info did back in the 1980s, at least.  (Also, in
commonly used Web browsers, to do index searches, to do `next',
`prev', `up', and `last' movements with default keybindings rather
than depend on mice, and maybe to enhance W3 mode or other Emacs mode,
to be a good browser.)

A different goal is to enhance Info to enable people to read documents
remotely, when `remote' means `low bandwidth connection between
renderer and Info doc source' rather than `low bandwidth connection
between display and renderer'.  I doubt this second goal is as
important as the first.

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

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