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Re: Colon in index items

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Colon in index items
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 13:18:37 +0200 (IST)

On Mon, 18 Mar 2002, Richard Stallman wrote:

>     This was considered as well.  The problem with this is that you'd like 
>     the Info reader to display `colon' as `:', otherwise it would confuse 
>     users, I think.
> It would not confuse them any more than the change you are making in
> the source files, which consists of replacing `:' with `colon'.

What I did in the Emacs Texinfo sources was a temporary measure; it doesn't 
pretend to be a solution to the problem.  Its main caus is to avoid 
strange error messages/freezes/crashes in Info viewers that are not 
ready to cope with colons, and to prevent ``bug reports'' from users 
telling us that our manuals cannot build with Texinfo 4.1 without a 
warning (this warning is new with Texinfo 4.1).

So I don't think my replacement should be compared with a solution to 
the original problem.

> What appears in the index in Info would be the same either way,
> and the behavior of the i command would be the same either way.

Perhaps there's a misunderstanding.  Let's assume that we have a manual 
about C++ classes, which describes a class `foo'.  Then it will probably 
document methods like `foo:foo', `foo:~foo', and `foo:bar'.  As a user 
who reads that manual and looks for the methods from that class, I'd try 
typing "i foo: TAB".  Is that what you have in mind as well?  Or do you 
suggest that the users type "i foo<colon> TAB" instead?  I don't think 
users could guess they need to do the latter.

If they do type "i foo: TAB", then won't it be confusing to see this as 

        foo<colon>foo     foo<colon>~foo     foo<colon>bar


> But your change gives bad results in other output formats.

I tried to make a change that would avoid most of the adverse side 
effects.  In any case, the change I made is not meant to be used in every 
case; I simply saw that the Emacs manual has only a hadful of such cases, 
and that they all can be taken care of with a simple change.  It's not 
that I suggest that as a canonical solution, or ask for documenting it in 
the Texinfo manual.  It's a kludge.

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