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Re: Have you all gone crazy? Was: On being web-friendly and why info mus

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Have you all gone crazy? Was: On being web-friendly and why info must die
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 18:42:10 +0200

> From: Tom <address@hidden>
> Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 16:03:57 +0000 (UTC)
> Eli Zaretskii <eliz <at> gnu.org> writes:
> > 
> > And if you do know, how is this different from going to the same
> > manual and using the text search (the 's' command) there?  It isn't.
> > 
> The main difference is google finds alternative phrases too.

A good manual should have them already indexed.

> E.g. suppose you want to read about closing buffers. You try
> i and it has no completion for closing buffer. If you try to search
> for "close buffer" in the emacs manual then no matches come up.
> (Note I tried it on 24.1, a newer emacs might give better results.)

Please submit a documentation bug, and we will have it.

> So in order to find something in info you often need to know the
> term emacs uses for it.

Not as rule.  E.g., "cut" is already there, as are many other popular
terms.  Where some terminology isn't in the index, you are encouraged
to submit bug reports.

But patches to add such a capability to info.el will be most welcome.

> Info is a great reference, becase it is quick to look up something
> when you already know the term. But if you have only a vague idea
> then it may not be so easy to find what you are looking for.

The index doesn't include only Emacs terminology, or just terms.  It
includes phrases and words that a reader might have in mind when she
is looking for something.  IOW, good indexing is supposed to solve
precisely this kind of problems.  And if you look at the various
@cindex entries in the manual, you will see this in action.

Of course, there's always a place for improvement.  Google improve
their techniques as well.

> You can add these alternatives to the index, but in practice you
> can't compete with google with a manually compiled index, because
> you can add just so many alternatives, while google does the same
> mechanically and intelligently (stemming, thesaurus, etc.), so
> it will always have an advantage.

So let's add such a front end to Emacs as well.  Should be a nice
project, I think.

(Btw, "mechanically" and "intelligently" contradict each other.)

In any case, with Google you are still at the disadvantage that many
hits are not what you want, outdated, and just plain incorrect.

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