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[Gnu-arch-users] Re: "Newbie-ized help"

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: [Gnu-arch-users] Re: "Newbie-ized help"
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 13:02:12 +0900
User-agent: Gnus/5.1006 (Gnus v5.10.6) XEmacs/21.5 (chayote, linux)

>>>>> "Miles" == Miles Bader <address@hidden> writes:

    Miles> "Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden> writes:

    >> Really?  Unlike gdb, tla is not normally an interactive
    >> program.

    Miles> Well, it doesn't have to have be an `interactive program'
    Miles> -- note that gdb's help system is basically command-line
    Miles> oriented, you don't have help menus, etc. (like e.g. vms
    Miles> help does).  You just do `help word1 word2 ...'; for
    Miles> non-leaf nodes, it shows a list of further possibilities,
    Miles> for leaf nodes it shows some help text.

    Miles> That sort of system would fit pretty well into tla.

I actually don't think it would for me, though YMMV.  gdb is an
interactive program, it already has a command line.  Why add a
command-line interpreter to tla just to get a junky help browser?

Sure, you could do it all from "tla help" plus a bunch of zsh aliases
and completion, but that's not much help to bash or xtla users.  Isn't
it a better idea to have tla call out to a browser that's been
designed for the purpose, and display text formatted in a language
that is understood by a number of applications, including both
standalone help browsers and at least one of the premier programmers'
editors, already?

Also, about half the time when I invoke gdb help, I've already got
something on the screen that clues me in as to what word1 and word2
should be.  I rarely have that experience with tla; if I don't already
know what I need, it's "tla help | less" to get word1, then "tla word1
-H", etc.  So I really do want a browser, with single keystroke or
point and click access to links.  Again, YMMV, but I think this would
be a big improvement for tla newbies and occasional users trying some
new facility.

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.

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