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

From: James Blackwell
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Re: "Newbie-ized help"
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 02:36:04 -0400

>>>>>> "Miles" == Miles Bader <address@hidden> writes:
>    Miles> Hmm, well Tom was advocating for a gdb-style interactive
>    Miles> help system in tla... (actually not a bad idea -- it's

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

The way this patch works is: 

tla help

     [get a list of 5-6 categories]

tla help category

     [get a list of 5-10 commands that apply for this category]

I wasn't originally on the side of doing this, but then I tried his
patch out, and it became blatently obvious to me that we need to do
exactly this. 

I haven't taken it (yet) because I asked him to provide a way to list
all commands (dups ok), so that one could still grep the list. 

> But "programmatic organization" can be done in batch just as well as
> interactively.  With proper indexing and xref'ing, a "tla CMD --info"
> command that invokes "info tla CMD", where the CMD node is
> autogenerated from the same doccomment that the corresponding "tla CMD
> -H" string is, but also leaves you in an info browser after displaying
> the node, and provides xrefs and footnotes, seems to me a better
> (== cheaper and faster to implement) idea than homegrown interactive
> doc facilities.  Especially given how bad gdb's online help sucks.

We don't use info, for what should be obvious reasons (for example, info
is a dependancy that isn't reasonably expected on all the platforms we

I'm not necessarily against a suite of info/man pages as an addition,
but we've got to keep the built in help.

> Info isn't perfect, but it's a much better help authoring and browsing
> system than HTML, at least with current HTML bowsers.  The two big
> advantages of HTML up to now (multimedia and noob-fiendly-ness) are
> both disappearing, and fairly rapidly AFAICT, with the addition of
> image support to Texinfo and toolbars etc to many standalone and
> Emacsen-based info browsers.  And if you really must have HTML[1],
> there are several Texinfo-to-HTML converters that do a reasonable job,
> whereas HTML-to-Texinfo converters invariably leave a lot to be
> desired (eg, disbanding the W3C comes immediately to mind ;-).

We don't use html either, for the same obvious reasons. :) 

James Blackwell          Try something fun: For the next 24 hours, give
Smile more!              each person you meet a compliment!

GnuPG (ID 06357400) AAE4 8C76 58DA 5902 761D  247A 8A55 DA73 0635 7400

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