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

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: On being web-friendly and why info must die
Date: Sat, 06 Dec 2014 14:13:12 +0200

> Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2014 06:03:10 -0500
> From: "Eric S. Raymond" <address@hidden>
> Cc: address@hidden, address@hidden, address@hidden
> Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden>:
> > > > Until there is a documentation viewer available in Elisp that is almost
> > > > as good as Info-mode while being prettier,
> > > 
> > > Does a web browser not qualify?
> > 
> > Not to me, not as progress from the current situation.
> > 
> > > If not, why not?
> > 
> > Because copy/pasting docs from a separate program while working on
> > something in Emacs is an annoyance
> Granted.  But eww is part of the background conditions now.  Emacs
> itself is a browser, and will become a better one.

Your premise was an external browser, not eww.

If we are going for eww as the primary browser, it needs to become
much more mature and better before it can count.  It will also have to
acquire features specific for supporting reading of documentation,
something that currently is not even on ewww developers' agenda,

> > And also because the index-searching commands, without which you are
> > lost in a large manual, don't exist in the Web browsers out there.
> This is not at *all* hard to solve.  I have written HTML generators
> that produce index links myself in different contexts.

Producing links is not the problem (makeinfo already does that).  The
problem is _searching_ by index entries.  The 'i' command in the Info
viewer.  Without that command, you cannot use a manual as a reference,
where you know approximately what you are looking for, but don't know
its chapter/section name.

> > And finally because Emacs documentation commands have
> > links that go to the respective manual and chapter, but no similar
> > features exist for external browsers.
> Generating that kind of link structure from any modern markup is
> almost trivial.  If you don't understand this it is unsurprising that
> you are opposed.

You elided the only portion of that which I consider non-trivial.  For
the trouble it could cause, read any of the threads about having
multiple Info manuals installed on the same system.  If you don't
understand how this could be a problem, it is not surprising that you
think it's trivial.

> > In sum, switching to a Web browser as the means to read documentation
> > is a regression.
> Except to pretty much the entire universe of new developers we need to 
> recruit.

This isn't the way, certainly not the most important one.

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