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Re: [help-texinfo] alternate node name [was: Overloading function defs i

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: [help-texinfo] alternate node name [was: Overloading function defs inside and across languages]
Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2005 15:58:38 +0200

> From: Jean-Louis Leroy <address@hidden>
> Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2005 11:45:08 +0000
> Cc: address@hidden
> I'm progressing in my documentation, and so far the really annoying
> thing I've come across is the fact that node names also serve as node
> ids and thus need to be unique (btw I've done a lot of work on
> persistence and my experience says that deriving the id of a
> persistent object from its state is always a bad idea).
> I end up with needlessly long names that take no advantage of context,
> e.g.:
> @node Persistence in Relational Databases
> @chapter Persistence in Relational Databases

What names did you want to use originally?  Are you saying that you
wanted to have several nodes called "Persistence"?

Anyway, "Persistence in Relational Databases" doesn't sound too long
to me.

> I have the impression that makeinfo makes a single pass on the source
> file, generating the HTML at the same time it parses.

Yes, makeinfo generates output as it reads and parses input.

> If that's the
> case, I cannot access the @node command that defines the next node and
> its new display-name argument.

It would be a major change to the language, I think.  So yes, it's
quite hard to add such a feature.

> Also, while I still have great respect for the texinfo suite, my
> current impression is that makeinfo kind of show its age. It's written
> in C while it looks like other languages would be better suited (my
> personal pick would be Perl).

I don't see anything wrong with using C here.

> It does the lexing and parsing all by itself instead of using tools
> like lex and yacc.  It doesn't seem to build a parse tree

I'm not sure Texinfo has a consistent grammar, but rewriting makeinfo
to separate parsing from output has been on Karl's todo list forever.
If you want to volunteer to do the job, I'm sure Karl will embrace
that ;-)

> in fact it looks a lot more like a simple macro processor like cpp.

That is no coincidence: after all, to produce printed output, we
simply use TeX macros.

> I wonder when it was initially written, my guess would be early
> seventies.

No, makeinfo was written in 1992-1993.  (You can see that in the
ChangeLog files in the distribution.)  Before that, Info manuals were
produced from Texinfo sources with Emacs facilities.

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