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Re: docstrings and elisp reference

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: docstrings and elisp reference
Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2017 18:18:51 +0300

> From: Etienne Prud’homme <address@hidden>
> Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2017 22:29:47 -0400
> Cc: Stephen Leake <address@hidden>,
>       emacs-devel <address@hidden>
> However, I also think Jean-Christophe makes a good point about
> documentation generation.  Not with duplication, but semantic support.
> While documentation support is awesome in Emacs with GNU libraries, it’s
> not always so with third-party documentation tools.  I’m thinking about
> Zeal (and to a very limited extent Dash that is not free).

Are there any other similar free tools?  Zeal seems a one-man project,
that is not developed too actively.  What's more, at least the docs it
has for Bash and ELisp are exactly the respective Texinfo manuals,
with the same text and the same node structure.  What is the advantage
of using a different browser for the exact same text?

> Those tools are highly effective for semantic indexation for newcomers
> since they offer a simple interface for hundred FLOSS libraries.  GNU
> projects are almost nonexistent.

Most of the docs offered with Zeal are about languages and other
similar systems, so docs of GNU packages among them is more like the
odd one out than the rule.  And given the contents, which is exactly
the Info manual, I don't see why bother.  Am I missing something?

And I don't think I understand what you mean by "semantic indexation".
Can you explain that using as example the ELisp manual available for

> I’ve been trying in the past to port GNU projects documentation and I
> finally gave up.  I find Texinfo to be very limited when it comes to
> semantic support.  It’s really hard to extract meaningful definitions
> from texi files.

This should be discussed on the Texinfo list, not here.  The current
Texinfo translator is highly customizable, so it could be that it can
be adapted to these needs much better.  And the fact that the 2 GNU
manuals there are obviously translations of Texinfo seems to
contradict what you say here.

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