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Re: docstrings and elisp reference

From: Etienne Prud’homme
Subject: Re: docstrings and elisp reference
Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2017 14:10:13 -0400
User-agent: Emacs/25.2 (gnu/linux)

Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

> Are there any other similar free tools?  Zeal seems a one-man project,
> that is not developed too actively.

There’s helm-dash.  While the name makes it look like it depends on
Dash, it’s only using the Dash documentation format.

Being a one man project doesn’t exclude it from being popular.  I see
4,941 stars on Github.  It’s particularly used (with Dash too) in the
Front-End development field.

> 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?

That’s my point.  I must confess that the available documentation for
Elisp has better support now for choosing whether we search for a macro,
command, function, etc.  It used to index every symbols in the same
entry type (variable entry).  I may have been wrong in thinking it
wasn’t possible, but there has to be a lot of work for the docset
generator to do that.  I wouldn’t be surprized that the Elisp docset was
indexed by hand from Kapeli.  He has economic incitatives to make good
quality indexation.

Furthermore, we could support much more indexation capabilities given
the list of supported entry types[1].

> 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?

What I meant was really the uniform search interface it provides.  For
advanced Emacs users, it’s not a problem looking what we want from Emacs
itself (or Info entries), but for a newcomers, it might look insane.
People are now used to search engines when looking at documentation.
Most new developpers I know won’t even bother buying physical books.

> 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.

Since we were talking about Emacs, I thought this thread was more
appropriate.  I was refferring to the difficulty of porting GNU Emacs
Lisp documentation to the Dash docset format.

[1] https://kapeli.com/docsets#supportedentrytypes

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