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Re: INFO on add-ons

From: Robert J. Chassell
Subject: Re: INFO on add-ons
Date: Fri, 6 Sep 2002 12:18:28 +0000 (UTC)

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden> writes

    .... AFAICT texinfo doesn't care about the textual structure of a texi 

I think I understand what you mean.  In Texinfo, a node structure may
be any directed graph, not just a hierarchical one.

This is intended to be a feature:  you and arrange your node structure
as you wish.

It is true that most documents are written like a book with a
hierarchical structure, but they don't need to be. (However, the
various help tools, like `texinfo-all-menus-update' that I wrote all
require that the document follow a hierarchical structure since I
lacked the ability or time to do otherwise.)

As I see it, for documentation, the main problem with XML is exactly
the same as the problem with LaTeX or HTML:  most writers want to
write for a single output format, and they pick one that does not
convert readily to other output formats.

Consequently, they write documents that do poorly when you are
connected over a slow line (as still happens to me at intervals), or
when you must work eyes-free (as when driving a car, or permanently

So my question to you is:  does the present Texinfo --> XML converter
produce XML that works with the tools you need?  And is there a good
XML --> Texinfo to convert the result back to Texinfo?

If so, then we would benefit from tools in Emacs that make the
conversions automatically from one to the other, that check whether
usability constraints are met by running Texinfo, that check whether
other constraints are met or that auto-generate documentation, by
running XML tools.

(Incidentally, to answer Miles' question, yes, the XML --> Texinfo
must produce `good, readable' Texinfo, since the presumption is that
other people, in addition to the author, will modify it.  Since the
Texinfo is the canonical form, it should not be `placed in a swamp'
that is hard to study or modify, like binary-only programs.)

    Robert J. Chassell            address@hidden  address@hidden
    Rattlesnake Enterprises       http://www.rattlesnake.com
    Free Software Foundation      http://www.gnu.org   GnuPG Key ID: 004B4AC8

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