Re: Status of the yelp man-page parser

Eric S. Raymond wrote:
I'm doing some work on the groff manual pages, trying to make sure
they render correctly through various programs such as man2html,
the KDE help broweser, manServer, and yelp.

Towards that end, I recently had a look at the yelp source code at
My goal was to enumerate the sets of troff requests and escapes that
it interprets.

I left that page more puzzled than I arrived. It doesn't look to me like that code is functional -- in particular, it looks like .if
conditionals and escapes in macro arguments aren't handled.  And yet,
yelp seems to be doing a pretty good job of displaying man pages that
I know require these features.

Have I missed something here, or is yelp actually doing something
like calling groff behind the scenes?

How's this for a late response!

I was probably the last one to touch that code, and I must say that it is all rather hackish and basically ignores basically all conditional commands. Surprisingly it formats the majority of man pages fairly well, but really it should be re-written the "right" way (I'm not quite sure what the right way is). Ages ago there was a dependency on some man2html program, but for reasons that are beyond me, it was re-written to remove that dependency (I think I remember hearing maintainability as being the major problem).

The parser converts the groff formats to an intermediate xml based format, and then uses yelp's xslt "pager" system to convert the intermediate xml format to HTML for display.

I've lost interest in it, so anyone's efforts to improve it or completely rewrite it are welcome.

Brent Smith <gnome nextreality net>
IRC: smitten

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