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RE: Info tutorial is out of date

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Info tutorial is out of date
Date: Sun, 16 Jul 2006 10:33:41 -0700

        The first thing the tutorial should do is take a tour of
        the menu-bar menu - that is, those menu items that are the most
        important. This is also the opportunity to point out the key
        bindings indicated in the menu. That is the
        way to introduce the shortcuts `i', `s', and `l', for
        instance - in passing.

    The menu bar is no more convenient or clear than keys.

It's one less thing to teach, in order to get directly into the meat of what
we want to teach. The menu bar is *there*; it needs no explaining, no
practicing, no remembering.

        The Info tutorial itself should be accessible (listed) in
        the menu of the first node of the Info manual. Instead, it is only
        mentioned in the text of that node, in terms of `h'.

    I don't see the reason for this.  Once a person is looking at the Info
    manual, he doesn't need the tutorial any more.  And he can still get to
    it in the usual way.

But, then why do we introduce the tutorial in the first text of the Info
manual? We introduce it by mentioning `h'. I would instead put it in the
menu, pointing out that it is an optional node of the manual (and saying
clearly what it is).

And how else would someone get to the tutorial, except through the Info

        Before entering the tutorial, we should tell
        users how to exit it, to get back where they were.

    I don't quite follow.

You enter with `h', and then what? Introduce `q' and `C-h i' to get back
where you were in the tutorial. And if the tutorial is not a node in the
Info manual, what happens when you reach the end of it? I'd rather see it as
an optional node within the Info manual.

        BTW, `h' should not bring up the tutorial, it should display
        a mini-version of what `C-h m' shows: a short list of the main
        key bindings - about the same as what's in the
        menu-bar menu, but with some explanation. There is no need
        to have a key binding just to bring up the Info tutorial -
        people won't be doing that 30 times a day.

    I see your point, but at the same time, people using Info may not grasp
    the idea of two-character commands.

What two-character command? Just `h' to show the major key bindings. Anyway,
they will need to grasp `C-h i' to get into Info and to get back into it. I
don't follow you here.

        The node `Invisible text in Emacs Info' is incomprehensible to me
        ("invisible text is really a part of the text"!?). Yow! Why
        are we telling users about killing and yanking Info text? (I guess
        printing is OK.) Why is this near the beginning of the tutorial?
        I really, really do not get this.

    I agree -- why teach people about this in the tutorial?
    Does anyone think this is desirable?

        In general, instead of introducing so many key bindings
        (e.g. `]'), the tutorial should spend the user's time taking
        a tour of Info *functionality*. Touring the menu-bar menu is a
        good way to explore the main functionalities: show what's there
        and what it does. In addition to the features in the
        menu-bar menu, teach SPC and DEL - that's about it.

    Other commands such as ] are also functionality.  They are a little
    more advanced, as functionality goes, so perhaps they should come later.

Yes, and they are in the menu-bar. AFAIK, the only commands not in the
menu-bar are SPC and DEL.

By pointing out the existence of the menu-bar, and running users through
some of its items, users also learn the lesson that they can find Info
functionality there. Instead of remembering, six months later, the Info
lesson that ran through using `]', they can remember to check what's in the
menu-bar menu - there they'll be reminded that `]' is the binding, or
they'll learn about it for the first time.

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