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

From: Yuri Khan
Subject: Re: On being web-friendly and why info must die
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2014 23:53:05 +0700

On Sun, Dec 14, 2014 at 7:40 PM, Stefan Monnier
<address@hidden> wrote:

> I don't think that's interesting.  A more interesting URL is one that
> works both as a reference to locally-installed manuals and as
> a reference to some remote manual (when not available locally).

There is a precedent for that.

In XML processing, a schema or a DTD is typically identified by an
http:// URL. Fetching that URL typically gets you the relevant schema
or DTD. E.g. any XHTML 1.0 document contains a DTD declaration
referring to one of http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd,
http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd or

However, it is not really expected that applications that process such
documents actually fetch those URLs. Instead, they are treated as
well-known URLs, their content installed in a file on the local file
system and the URL-to-file correspondence registered in a system-wide
map called the XML Catalog.

It should be possible to adopt a convention that manuals can be
packaged, installed on the local system and registered in a
system-wide or user-specific catalogs, and build info browsers that,
given a node URL, first look up if the corresponding manual is
installed locally, and if not, fetch the content from the web.

Different versions of the manuals could be assigned different base
URLs. E.g. Python manuals start at
https://docs.python.org/<version>/library/ where <version> can be an
exact major.minor version number (2.6, 2.7, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5) or a
major-only version (2, 3) pointing to the current stable release of
that major version.

The implicit idea is that local content is an identical cache copy of
the remote content. However it doesn’t have to be. Local content might
be in a different format or medium more suitable for local use, or
localized into a different language. The same mechanism could be used
to give the user a means to override remote client-side code with a
local version.

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