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A new online publishing tool for Texinfo documents.

From: Nic Ferrier
Subject: A new online publishing tool for Texinfo documents.
Date: 22 Nov 2003 20:50:39 +0000

Bob Chasell and I have been discussing a new way of making Texinfo
available online. I am planning to build what we have discussed over

This message has been sent to all interested parties.

The aims of the new system are to make a web based info reader that
would be as good as the console based Info reader and that can be
used by people with slow Internet connections and free software web
browsers (Mozilla, Galeon, etc... as well as Emacs/W3, Lynx, etc...)

Our plan is to do this:

1 alter makeinfo --xml so that it splits the XML by Texinfo
  nodes. The --no-split switch will cause the existing output (or
  maybe add a new switch for the new XML output?)

2 write an XSLT stylesheet that transforms the chunked XML into
  specialized HTML;

  the specialized HTML will include Javascript to emulate Info
  navigation, index lookups, etc...

3 write a CGI script that will lookup a regular expression in the HTML
  files and return either a list of hits or the HTML file containing
  the Nth hit (N being an optional argument supplied to the CGI

4 write a shell script for linking all this together, and possibly to
  auto-magically install the produced files into an Apache webserver
  (other webservers to be supported as and when I have time).

The shell script(4) will be dependant on a tool called xsltproc which
comes with the GNOME libxsl library and is quite commonly available
on free software machines. xsltproc runs on all free operating
systems and also some non-free ones such as Windoze (but obviously we
don't care much about those  /8-)

I personally don't think this will deprecate the existing HTML output
from makeinfo because that has good support for ALL browsers.

There is one big problem with the current plan:

Emacs/W3 and Lynx do not support Javascript so we will have to find
another way of binding actions to keys within the HTML pages
downloaded to those browsers.

Does anyone have any bright ideas about that?

I am considering the potential of adding Mozilla's Javascript engine
to Emacs and Lynx which would solve this problem. The licence of
Mozilla's Javascript engine is compatible with the GPL. However, I
think this might be rather a big job, certainly bigger than the new
publishing system for online Texinfo.

On the subject of Lynx, has anyone tried this version of Links?


It apparently has Javascript support and is GPLed.


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