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Re: HTML-Info design

From: Nic Ferrier
Subject: Re: HTML-Info design
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 21:09:50 +0000

Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

> Now, it could well be that adding those is a piece of cake, but I just
> don't know that.  Until you show me that it is indeed doable without
> jumping through hoops, and can work on several popular browsers, I
> won't be convinced, sorry.

Ok. It's not a piece of cake. But it's totally doable. I guess you don't
have to believe me.

> Likewise with the directionality of the index prompt -- it might be a
> minor issue for a POC, but if it turns out that it is insoluble in
> principle, it's a showstopper, I hope you agree.

It's not insoluble though. It's absolutely trivial.

What's not trivial is whether this is *the right* thing to do or
not. I'm not changing it to the way you want it just because you want it
like that. The web browser is a different medium to an emacs frame and
so maybe a different presentation is necessary.

> And there are other valuable features in Info, please take a look at
> the commands in inf*.el files.  Some of them probably won't be
> possible or practical with www+js technique, like index-apropos, for
> example.  Which is a pity, at least for me, but what bothers me is how
> many more of such important features will have to be thrown away, how
> much useful functionality we will have to give up?

Everything info does is possible in a browser. I would not choose to
implement an exact copy not because it's not possible but because it's a
different medium.

Btw I've been using Emacs and Info for years as well, like, you, so I do
know how it works and commands like index-apropos.

Incidentally this is one of the reasons I've chosen to do what I'm doing
instead of working on something visible.

> We are talking about replacing an existing browser, one that is
> developed for decades and is chock-full of useful features.  I use
> many of them every day.

We aren't talking about doing that as far as I'm concerned.

> People can say it's "samizdat" all they want, but for me it is a
> tremendously useful tool.  If you want to convince me that the
> replacement will be worthy, you need to show that those important
> features, or at least some non-trivial subset thereof, can be had with
> your suggested approach.  And given my JS ignorance, the only way of
> showing that is by implementing it.  Because I have no idea what will
> it take to write a multi-file regexp search in JS.

I don't think there's any point in snapping our fingers and replacing
info. We couldn't possibly hope to do that. I think we commit to
replacing it with better tools over 10 years.

People are talking about changing the authorial format. I don't think
that is related very much to making new viewers. Any new authorial
format would necessarily have to work with the existing info app, at
least for a while.

If we don't commit to changing the authorial format, over time and
improving the viewer, over time, then I think we're guilty of the
accusation esr has levelled against us of being stick in the muds.


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