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Re: man pages, defensive programming, and bibliographic formats

From: Ingo Schwarze
Subject: Re: man pages, defensive programming, and bibliographic formats
Date: Sat, 25 Jan 2020 16:19:37 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.12.2 (2019-09-21)

Hi Branden,

G. Branden Robinson wrote on Sun, Jan 26, 2020 at 12:22:08AM +1100:

> Along with for the paragraphing macros, the font-styling macros are
> among the very most frequently used.

So, a significant minority of man(7) macros roaming the wild are
part of the unusual macro class (.BI etc. and .IP) that sometimes
requires argument quoting, a bit over 20% according to your count.
Then again, cases where arguments to those actually do contain
spaces and hence do require quoting are relatively rare, so quoting
is still unusual, and authors writing man(7) code still need to
understand why and in which exceptional cases it is needed.

For .SS, on the other hand, containing spaces is the rule rather
than the exception: logically, .SS introduces just a line of text.
So what are you making simpler by asking that that line be given
as a single quoted argument rather than just as a line in the natural
way?  I don't think asking people to quote .SS arguments helps to
understand .BI any better.


The topic of
  Companies like Bogus Inc.\& etc.\& like \&.macro quoting a lot.
doesn't seem fully settled either, but i fear it may cause confusion
to mix discussions of different topics in the same thread.

Regarding refer(1), if you think it can help, i suggest you just
show what you have in mind for a single manual page to demonstrate
how it would look like; that approach hopefully wouldn't force you
to invest large amounts of work, yet it might help evaluation (or
refinement?) of the idea.  Quite possible it's a good idea, but i'm
sure i don't fully grasp it yet.

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