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Re: [Info] Get more from the command line

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: [Info] Get more from the command line
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 12:08:17 +0200 (IST)

On Wed, 13 Feb 2002, Harry Putnam wrote:

> >> ??? What does this have to do with Emacs?
> >From your perspective as an author and developer, the difference
> between them may loom large.  But for common users I believe the two
> programs are well intertwined.  Using shared commands and proceedures.

That is indeed so, but when reporting problems with only one of the
two Info readers, it's not useful to link two such different forums in
the same thread.  Especially since one is a news group, while the
other is a mailing list.

> >> --output=FILENAME
> >>    output selected nodes to FILENAME
> >> 
> >>    This would be more usefull if there was a choice of stdout or a
> >>    file.  I guess one could name tty as the file but that is kind of
> >>    hackish and not something one thinks of immediately.
> >
> > Doesn't "--output=-" work?
> It may very well do so, but not too easy to find how.  I tried quite
> a few formulas and still have not hit it.  Maybe a few examples would
> be in order.

"--output=-", literally, does work for me.  Note the `-' after the
equals sign--that's a widely used stand-in for standard output, in
many programs.  It's in the manual.

> > So yes, --usage coupled with --output= should take care of this issue.
> Again there is a shortage of actual examples.  I don't mean the kind
> that programmers love, where you have to guess the real content.  I
> mean actual working examples.
> $ info --output= --usage standalone
> info: Could not create output file `'.
> info --output - --usage standalone
> Shows the whole section.  Not the usage

We seem to be miscommunicating here: this last example is what I had
in mind.  What do you mean by ``the whole section, not the usage''?

The --usage option is _supposed_ to show one section, the section
which describes how to run the program, including its command-line
switches and other pertinent information.  It is supposed to be the
equivalent of a man page, for people who only need to know that, and
need that fast, without wading through the menu maze.

> info --usage  --output=-  emacs
> Shows the whole first outline page, no usage at all.

Hmmm.. sounds like a bug.  I will look into this.

> Whether my tries are well informed may be a problem but I think it shows
> that at the very best it is not an easy thing to figure out.
> People have learned for thousands of years by concrete example.

The number of possible examples is almost infinite, due to
combinations of options.  What I'd like to know is why do you think
the description of the --output option in the manual is
incomplete or unclear.  Once I understand that, I could think how to
explain that best; one of the possibilities could be by adding an

> I don't see any of the examples under `Examples' that show how to get
> things on stdout.

If you refer to "Examples" printed by the --help option, then please
remember that the screen real estate is limited.

> Just a general comment here: There comes a time, when working on
> something engrossing where it is no longer fun or interesting to
> fiddle and experiment to see how an app can work.  Especially a help
> application since when you need it, its usally to get going on
> something else.  That is the one application that should be laden with
> examples.

Sorry, I disagree.  If a program needs lots of examples to make its
usage clear, it means that its UI is bug-ridden and should be
rethought.  Misfeatures need to be removed, not documented.

If you think the UI is so cumbersome that cannot be grasped without
lots of examples, please point out the problematic parts in the UI.

> > Info supports PageUp and PageDown (as well as arrows and other popular 
> > edit keys).  So I don't see how this could be a problem.
> Arrows yes, but I must have terminal interference.  My page up/down
> walks right out of the reader and up through what ever is in my term buffer.

What terminal is that, and what does its termcap/terminfo entry say
about the escape sequences it produces when you press these keys?

> >> There should be some easily findable way to quit out of the help menu
> >> documentaiton. Its almost as if someone set a booby trap.
> >
> > Doesn't "C-x 0" work?
> Not here.  `?' switches to help menu full buffer. C-x 0 tells me 
> `only one window'

Ah, your screen is too short, I forgot about that possibility.

"C-x b" is your friend.

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