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Re: [Info] Get more from the command line

From: Harry Putnam
Subject: Re: [Info] Get more from the command line
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 05:38:43 -0800
User-agent: Gnus/5.090006 (Oort Gnus v0.06) Emacs/21.1.80 (i586-pc-linux-gnu)

Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

> 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.

Maybe not the best choice.  But to say it isn't `usefull' really is a
matter of perspective.  But I guess you're not saying it doesn't belong
on, just not both at once.  Somehow I suspect, had I
posted only to, someone whos initials are E. Z.  would
have responed with an admonition to post it to the texi group.  Along
with the usual detailed help... 

And I thank you for the detailed help... At this time I'm in a rather
big tizzy with perl programming, and will not cover the ground well.

In fact rather than continue to post without giving the details you'll
need  in order to make changes.  I'm going to beg off for a day or
two and only add a little here now..

In the meantime, is there a publicly available cvs access to the info
reader?  I think it would be more helpfull all around if I were to
submit concrete patches or at least make sure I'm reporting the right

> "--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.

I'm still missing the right syntax I think.  Can you show an example
of outputing a single node with --node and --output combination.

I just picked an arbitrary node to try to acess.  Keeping it simple
and limited to a small menu item like standalone:

info --node="Xref Commands" outpout=- standalone
info  outpout=- --node="Xref Commands" standalone

Neither works here.

> 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.

That isn't what I see.

        info --output=-  --usage standalone
             (or --outpout -) 
I would expect to see the gnode entitled Invoking Info::
Being `output' to my terminal.

What I see is the toc like page listing all menu items
File:,  Node: Top,  Next: What is Info,  Up: (dir)

If I invoke it to actually open the reader:
   info --usage standalone
It takes me directly to the `Invoking node' , as expected.
Except that a couple of massive footnotes take 2/3 of the screen 
and must be killed out before you can actually see anything about

> 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
> example.

Its really an inflated claim to say it would take an `infinite number
of examples'.   Really, maybe 3-4 would cover most of things that can
be done from the command line.  The problem is not that individual
commands are not explained, but the actual syntax of using them.

>> 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.

Actually no.  Sorry I slipped into talking about the examples in man
info with out warning. I was really thinking of the 5 at the bottom of
`man info',  not sure where they are in the info version.  maybe they
aren't there at all.  

It is 5 excellent little examples that leave no doubt about what they
do. 5-6 more, includint maybe 3 for gettting command line output would
probably take care of the vast majority of usage.

>> 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.

I'm thinking examples would cut down on the amount of necessary
documentation, not increase it.  Real examples cut way down on
terminology confusion and work regardless of a persons vocabulary or
background.  There is a reason why concrete examples predate written
history.  Something that has that high a success rate, for over 25,000
years can't be taken so lightly.

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