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RE: Info tutorial is out of date

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Info tutorial is out of date
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 09:54:09 -0700

    > Of course, it must tell people how to use the standalone Info reader

    Only the bare basics, because the more advanced features of the
    stand-alone Info reader are documented in a separate manual, which
    describes the stand-alone reader, and it alone.

If there is a separate standalone-reader manual, then stuff that is specific
to the standalone reader should go in that manual. That dissolves the
argument that the Info manual itself must cater to people who use only the
standalone reader.

    > Emacs Info is too close to the standalone Info to justify two
    > separate manuals, especially since many people may want to learn how
    > to use both readers and we should not force them to read two manuals
    > most of whose contents just duplicate each other.

    100% agreement.

But you just acknowledged that there are already two manuals.

Wrt duplication: Surely we can DTRT, so there is no duplication. That is a
packaging problem, and it shouldn't affect what we decide should logically
go in each manual (and the order for each).

    > The Info reader has no menu bar and no Emacs style header line.
    > Scroll bars and mice do not seem to work with it.

    The current Info manual tries (sometimes very hard) to strike the
    right balance between the handy GUI features available in Emacs and
    the total lack thereof in the stand-alone reader.

Keyboard-only stuff could be presented at the start of the standalone-reader
manual, and presented in a later part of the Info manual. The standalone
manual could be built to not include that information twice.

The presentation in each case would likely be slightly different: For Emacs
users, keyboard shortcuts would be presented as a performance-enhancement
tip. For standalone Info, they would be presented at the beginning, as a
prerequisite lesson. This could be done by single-sourcing, while still
sharing much of the content.

Yes, as Lennart pointed out, making things easier for the user sometimes
means more work for the preparer.

    It is quite
    possible that the manual can be improved, but I'd rather see a
    concrete proposal (in the form of patches or even a total rewrite)
    than hear more of the endless discussions in this thread about the
    relative merits and demerits of using the mouse and the tool bar.

I agree. A discussion on what needs to be taught, in what priority, is the
first step. I offered some suggestions, as did Alan. And on that we are not
so far apart.

    Would someone who thinks they know how to make the Info manual less
    ``out of date'' please submit their proposed changes, so we could make
    this discussion more practical?

I personally cannot contribute patches (they would not be accepted, because
I cannot get papers from my employer). In any case, starting with patches
would be premature. Let us agree on what to present and how, before getting
into the exact text.

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