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Re: info -> html

From: Chong Yidong
Subject: Re: info -> html
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2012 13:21:28 +0800
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.94 (gnu/linux)

address@hidden (Karl Berry) writes:

> So, on this project to replace Info with an HTML or XML format (which
> will probably be news to S&S), Chong wrote me:
>     Probably the way to start is to install HTML/XML manuals
>     side-by-side with Info files, and change the viewers so that when
>     pointed to an Info topic, they load and display the HTML/XML version
>     if it is available, instead of the Info file.
> Sure, sounds like a reasonable starting point to me.
> We should think hard about exactly how we want to install the HTML
> files.  We definitely don't want one big directory of everything, the
> way $(infodir) is.  I imagine one directory per manual (= dir entry).
> With any images in that directory.

To summarize for texinfo-devel: the discussion which I had off-list with
RMS and Karl was whether, given the limitations of the Info format, the
GNU project should start transitioning out of the Info format into
another documentation format (preferably one of the other formats
Makeinfo is capable of outputting).  This would involve changing the
standalone Info browser and Emacs Info, so that newer versions of those
are able to use the new format when "pointed to" a given Info topic.

The question of what format to transition into affects the choice of
installation layout.  From my understanding, the standard format for
on-system documentation nowadays is DocBook.  Gnome and KDE, for
instance, both use DocBook for their documentation.  Since makeinfo can
generate DocBook output, it seems logical to use that.  In that case,
the transition would entail (i) teaching Info and Emacs Info to
understand DocBook, and baking in a rule for them to translate from the
old Info location to the standard location used by DocBook
documentation; and (ii) telling Autotools to install DocBook in those
locations, in addition to the Info locations.  As far as I can tell, the
translation is something like

PREFIX/share/info/MANUAL.info             (Info manual location)
PREFIX/share/help/LOCALE/MANUAL/NODE.page (DocBook location)

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