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Re: INFO on add-ons

From: Miles Bader
Subject: Re: INFO on add-ons
Date: 05 Sep 2002 10:48:57 +0900

Ville Skyttä <address@hidden> writes:
> > > (Obviously the retargetable backend is a _huge_ improvement, and I
> > > wouldn't go back, although I'd like to go forward from Texinfo to
> > > XMLinfo.)
> Yeah!  Thumbs up here.

I think it depends on what's meant by `go forward'.

XML makes a decent intermediate format, but it's a pretty poor source

If we had tools to do XML->info, XML->tex, etc., and a tools that did
texinfo->XML, then we could support both formats, and leave it up to
the original author of a document which he preferred to use.

This would end up making people unhappy I suppose (I'd be annoyed to
edit XML docs, and XML-structure-editor-users would be annoyed to work
on texinfo), but it might result in more documentation.

> > What's so great about <kindex key="C-x k"/> compared to @kindex C-x k ?
> > What's so great about <sample>foobar</sample> compared to @sample{foobar} ?
> The user base.  What do you think is the percentage of the technically
> oriented people, especially "newcomers", that feel more comfortable with
> the former?  Why should a "newcomer" who has a choice learn Texinfo if
> she already knows XML?

I'd guess that the `user base' of XML falls into two camps:

  (1) Those who are afraid of any markup language, and would insist on
      using a structure editor or something.  These people don't `know

  (2) People who actually know XML.  These people will pick up
      texinfo's syntax in about 35 seconds (both syntaxes are really
      almost trivial).

It's group (1) that's really relevant to your argument, but my
impression is that almost all free-software documentation currently
comes from group (2).

The question is whether making things easier for group (1) would improve
the documentation situation significantly (it has to be `significantly'
of course, because otherwise it's not worth the effort).

I don't the answer to this.

> > XML has its advantages, but for a *source* format, it's just way too
> > cumbersome/verbose, unless you use an editor that hides the markup,
> > but then what would such an editor look like ?

[ like texinfo (address@hidden'), of course :-) ]

> If there's a way to use both XML and Texinfo and make them
> coexist happily, I'm all for it.


We live, as we dream -- alone....

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