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Re: info reference syntax

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: info reference syntax
Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2009 21:03:48 +0200

> From: Xah Lee <address@hidden>
> Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2009 05:56:51 -0800 (PST)
> it'd be much better if emacs adopted html as its standard doc format.

Unless someone sets out to rewrite all the gazillion Emacs features in
info.el and info-look.el to work with HTML, this ain't gonna happen,
because those features are too useful to give up.

> this wouldn't effect emacs much since emacs can and should still use
> info doc in emacs as a integrated system. But down the road, say in 5
> years, emacs will need to deprecate texinfo eventually. The HTML/XHTML/
> CSS/JavaScript world is literally with few million more users and
> developers.

If you'd talk about XML or DocBook, I could perhaps believed you.  But
the formats you mention cannot replace Texinfo because they are not
powerful enough to support features Texinfo has today, such as
indexing, and don't have a macro system to express useful constructs
such as @defun.  Without these, it's a PITA to write any serious
software documentation.

We _could_ use HTML as an _output_ format (as opposed to source),
which is what I was talking above (makeinfo supports HTML output for a
very long time now).  But to replace the source language with
something else, that something else needs to be at least as powerful
and convenient as Texinfo, and it needs tools to generated both
printed and on-line docs from the same source.

> In fact, i wouldn't be surprised that modern browser such as Firefox
> actually load html doc faster than a comparative info file.

Surprise me! give some measurements for a change.

> Today, as far as i know, nobody bothered with info version of docs.

"Nobody" is, of course, slightly exaggerated, as every GNU package has
Info docs, which in practice means every important piece of software
on a GNU/Linux machine is documented in Info.

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