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Please post older versions of GNU Emacs manuals on the web

From: Drew Adams
Subject: Please post older versions of GNU Emacs manuals on the web
Date: Sat, 2 Jan 2016 08:46:17 -0800 (PST)

If you have a version of GNU Emacs older than 24.4 then you are
lucky to still have `defadvice' documented in the Elisp manual.

(This useful doc _never_ should have been removed from the manual.
But that is not the point of this post.)

Suppose you are using Emacs 24.3 (or Emacs 23 or...).  You visit
the Elisp manual and you use `i defadvice' to visit the advice doc.

You want to visit the same manual section on line (HTTP).  Perhaps
you want to bookmark it for use when you do not have Emacs available.
Or maybe you want to send the URL to someone or post it in online
Emacs help.  Or maybe you want to print some of the HTML pages.

Here's the rub.  Only the manuals for the latest Emacs release
are available on line.  And because Emacs (unwisely) removed the
doc for `defadvice', you are out of luck.  There is no online doc
for you.

Can GNU Emacs not provide its users with the doc for more
than one release on line?  How hard and how costly is that?

In many cases providing this service is maybe not so important,
because Emacs tends to add more than it subtracts (mostly
monotonic).  But in a case such as the wholesale decapitation
of `defadvice' doc you are really out of luck on the web.

Wrt `defadvice', the big concession that was made was to
keep the doc in the Lisp source code, as comments.  That's
piss-poor IMHO, but at least it shows some contrition for
the sin of removing useful doc from users.

How about posting multiple versions of the Emacs doc on line?


FWIW, I use a simple command, bound to `G' in Info, to
visit the current Info node on the web.  Sounds silly, but
I use it several times a day, to provide links in answers
I give to online Emacs questions.  (Of course, I also tell
users the preferred method of accessing the doc, `C-h i'.)

(defun Info-goto-node-web (node &optional flip-new-win)
  "Use `browse-url' to go to Info node NODE using a Web browser.
With a prefix arg, reverse the effect of option

NODE is the name of a node in the GNU Emacs or Elisp manual.
Alternatively, NODE can have the form (MANUAL)NODE, where MANUAL is
\"emacs\" or \"elisp\" and NODE is the name of the node in that
manual.  Empty NODE in (MANUAL) defaults to the `Top' node."
    (list (Info-read-node-name "Go to node: " Info-current-node)
  (require 'browse-url)
  (unless Info-current-file
    (error "This command must be invoked from Info"))
  (browse-url (Info-url-for-node node)
              (list (if flip-new-win
                        (not browse-url-new-window-flag)

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