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

From: Phillip Lord
Subject: Re: On being web-friendly and why info must die
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 14:46:33 +0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

Lennart Borgman <address@hidden> writes:
>>> You may be right. It depends on what you want to do. Perhaps you have some
>>> code to clarify what you mean?
>> So, consider slidy:
>> http://www.w3.org/Talks/Tools/Slidy2/#%281%29
>> This implements next and previous buttons like info. At the bottom, you
>> should see a "contents?" button which gives you a table of contents. The
>> table of contents that you see is implemented in about 50 lines of
>> Javascript (including action handlers which always take up lots of
>> space). In this case the TOC is generated from the H1 tags in the
>> underlying HTML.
>> An index is, essentially, similar to a table of contents although more
>> complex. Index items could be added to an HTML presentation either as
>> div tags, which could be parsed for as slidy uses H1. Or, alternatively,
>> they could be placed in a XML file (index item to anchor) which would
>> save parsing the entire HTML file. On top of that, I would add a GUI --
>> so "i" would pop up an index with type ahead, so you could see what you
>> are searching through; there are, of course, quite a few type ahead
>> libraries available for HTML.
>> Of course, you might want to do more complex things; an "other pages
>> that point here" might be useful to give bidirectional links. A
>> set of categories pages to give richer context. A hover over tooltip
>> giving glossary information (might be quite useful given that many
>> users will misunderstand what the word "window" means in emacs space).
>> But at heart, I don't see indexes as a show stopper. It's probably
>> something that could have been added to texinfo HTML output years ago.
>> Note that when I say "javascript" where, the all the same things would
>> be possible in lisp. It has quite a few type ahead completion libraries
>> too, I believe...
>> Phil
> Thanks Phil, I see what you mean now.
> I was thinking of more complex queries. Say you start with one word,
> "word1". You get too many alternatives so you add "word2" to the
> search string (or the search completion string). Perhaps you also have
> fields you want to specify to narrow the search.
> I guess that searching like that is what people are used to today
> (except for fields, of course). I like the Emacs built in
> documentation for functions and variables very much. However that is
> limited to elisp. To me Info is much more inconvenient. Personally I
> would prefer some searching enhanced with fields there.

I would agree with this. I am, of course, glad that Emacs doc has an
index, but in general, indexes are disappearing from documentation,
because it's just as easy to search and less effort for the authors.
Also, of course, you can search outside the existing resource. This was
Eric's original motivation for moving from texinfo.

With the index as is, though, type ahead allows narrowing (buffer to


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