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Re: On being web-friendly and why info must die

From: Christopher Allan Webber
Subject: Re: On being web-friendly and why info must die
Date: Fri, 05 Dec 2014 12:39:58 -0600

Eric S. Raymond writes:

> Several recent posts in the metaproblem threads have had the common
> theme that Emacs's web resources are weak, scattered, and unfocused.
> In particular, guidance for new developers that should be public,
> prominent and webbed is buried in obscure text files deep in the Emacs 
> source distribution.
> I think the major reason this has not happened is because the Emacs
> development culture is still largely stuck in a pre-Web mindset.
> There are a number of historically contingent reasons for this, but
> enumerating them is not really important.  What matters is recognizing
> that this is a problem and fixing it.

100% agreed.

> There are two reasons it's a problem: one of capability, one of
> positioning.
> The positioning problem is that info/Texinfo makes us look like a
> steam-powered archaic joke to younger developers.  Text-only
> presentation with obtrusive links and a complex command set for a
> viewer that's *not a web browser*?  In 2014?  Really?

Agreed here too.

> I have discussed this with RMS and, pending my ability to actually write
> proper translation tools, we have agreed on asciidoc as a new master 
> format.  This is what should replace Texinfo and the gallimaufry of
> ad-hoc text files like /etc/CONTRIBUTE and the admin/notes stuff.

Here's where I'm a bit surprised... I'm not sure that new GNU projects
should have to use Texinfo, but why not put efforts into improving
Texinfo's HTML output?

 - Chris

PS: We use Sphinx for documentation in GNU MediaGoblin, and it has an
option for a texinfo output, but also provides *excellent* HTML output.)

PPS: I know some Guile developers have told me that Guile has a very
good set of texinfo processing modules, maybe could be helpful here in
modernizing GNU manual output, but I'm really not sure.

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