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Re: Correspondence between web-pages and Info-pages

From: Kelly Dean
Subject: Re: Correspondence between web-pages and Info-pages
Date: Sat, 03 Jan 2015 08:14:35 +0000

Richard Stallman wrote:
> There will be no need for browsers to try to choose between two
> formats of a manual, if the only format we use is a form of HTML.

That's true. I thought the consensus was to continue supporting the Info format 
for the time being, add URL syntax to the Info browser, and dump the Info 
format (and standard HTML, as currently used for manual pages on gnu.org) only 
after a new format was ready to replace it. That would mean there would be a 
period when URLs were used for two formats (Info and HTML), so I proposed a way 
to handle that. But if URL syntax isn't going to be introduced for the Info 
browser until the new format is ready to replace both Info and the 
currently-used form of HTML, then my proposal to use redirection to handle both 
isn't necessary.

> Rather, the two modes we will want a browser to handle are (1) locally
> installed files and (2) files fetched with http over the web.
> Since the same files could be accessed either way, we want to make
> sure that the same file contents work both ways.  This affects how
> cross-refereces have to be handled.

The solution to that, of course, is to simply have the browser fetch through a 
cache, like standard web browsers do. To ‟install” files locally, just fetch 
them, then pin them in the cache. Emacs releases can come with the appropriate 
files preloaded (and pinned) in the cache, so no network connection is needed 
to browse those files. To uninstall files, just purge them from the cache, or 
just un-pin them and let them be automatically purged to make room for new data.

For intra-domain cross-references (even inter-manual, so long as intra-domain), 
use relative links, which is standard practice on the web. Web browsers 
automatically convert relative links to absolute (based on the absolute URL 
that was used to fetch the page (and this URL is recorded in the cache along 
with the page itself)), so relative links are never exposed to users except 
when they look at a page's source code. The only time you need absolute links 
in your manuals is for inter-domain cross-references.

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