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Re: document package.el

From: Tom Tromey
Subject: Re: document package.el
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 2010 19:40:17 -0600
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.2 (gnu/linux)

>>>>> "Eli" == Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

Eli> Most environments that have Emacs also have the external programs
Eli> needed for the other formats.

... but some don't.

Eli> "Only packagers"?  What about a package I downloaded from elsewhere?
Eli> I don't expect many packages nowadays to come in a .tar format.

I don't know what packages you could possibly mean.

Packages for use with package.el must be packaged according to the rules
imposed by package.el.  Of these rules, use of .tar is a trivial one,
the other impose a lot more burden.

Users of package.el generally install packages from the package archive,
via the package menu mode.  They don't generally just download random
.tar files.  And, if they did -- so what?  The .tar is just the
distribution format.

Tom> +  If the package has an info manual, you should distribute the needed
Tom> +info files, plus a @file{dir} file made with @command{install-info}.

Eli> Not clear why the `dir' file is needed.  Are you trying to support
Eli> users that don't have install-info on their systems?

Tom> Yes.

Eli> Why?

My goal in writing package.el was a seamless user experience.  I tried
hard to minimize the number of error modes that a user could see.

* Use of .tar and not anything else, even .tar.gz -- because .tar can be
  unpacked entirely in elisp.
* Use of package dependencies, to make it so you can't install a package
  and have it not work.
* Before I upload a package I also generally make a point of looking at
  how it is activated, looking at least for autoload cookies.

The general theme is to make packagers do a bit more work so that users
get a better experience.


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