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Re: A new online publishing tool for Texinfo documents.

From: Kevin Rodgers
Subject: Re: A new online publishing tool for Texinfo documents.
Date: Tue, 02 Dec 2003 11:54:21 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; SunOS i86pc; en-US; rv: Gecko/20020406 Netscape6/6.2.2

Robert J. Chassell wrote:

   Nic said, "It's an additional format to solve the specific problem
   of reading documentation that you don't happen to have on your
   local machine."

Kevin Rodgers <address@hidden> replied

   First of all, I question whether an additional format is required,
   since that will demand that Emacs and other Info readers be
   modified to support the new format.

But the proposed HTML format has nothing to do with Info!  It is a
different HTML format.  Its intent is to enable standards compliant
Web browsers to read documents on the Web (and if Web servers put in
the requisit CGI, to enable Web browsers to navigate via search).

I just wanted to point out that there are divergent goals being discussed
in this single thread.

   Second, everyone seems to agree that Info's search and navigation
   facilities are superior to HTML; so shouldn't we take advantage of

Right, that is why Info should not be changed (unless someone wants
to enhance it by enabling slow connections between an Info doc server
and the Info renderer; right now the connection must be fast).

I don't understand why that is, i.e. why the server <-> client connection
speed for HTML is not adequate for Info as well.

   Third, Info files can be rendered very quickly (especially compared
   to HTML) because they have already been pre-processed from the
   Texinfo source, but the download time for Info is no worse than
   HTML because it's not much bigger than the source.

I do not understand you.  It takes me 17 minutes to download the Emacs
Lisp Reference Manual.  When I do the manual in Info format, I then
later read it in Info.  I do not wait 17 minutes and then start

The goal with the HTML/CGI proposal is that if I were to browse the
manual remotely in a Web browser, I would need to download only small
parts -- nodes most likely -- quickly, so I would not have to wait 17

Right; but I assumed that the remote Info manual is already split into
relatively small files, and I should have said that an Info _node_ can
be displayed quickly (at least as quickly as an HTML page).  And my
little experiment showed that you can already browse a remote Info
manual, only downloading the subfiles as necessary, using ange-ftp.

   Searching an entire document, whether it's in Info format or HTML
   and whether it's a monolithic entity or split into pieces still
   requires that the data be downloaded.

No, it does not.  That is the point of a CGI script.  You do *not*
have to download a whole document if the serving computer does the
work for you.

Indeed, I was wrong: even a remote Info file accessed via ange-ftp can

be searched incrementally.

If the goal is to make remote documentation available in current Info
browsers, they just need to be changed to recognize remote file syntax
(like ange-ftp, tramp, or http-get.el provide for Emacs).  If the goal
is to make documentation available for web browsers, makeinfo --html
already does that.  Right?

Kevin Rodgers

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