Re: The documentation web
- From: esr thyrsus com (Eric S. Raymond)
- To: Shaun McCance <shaunm gnome org>, gnome-doc-devel-list gnome org
- Subject: Re: The documentation web
- Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2007 21:42:16 -0500
Danilo Šegan <danilo gnome org>:
> > HTML supports images, so I don't see how this criticism makes a lot
> > of sense.
> The point was: when we distribute documentation in its source format,
> it gets more widely used, and (new) features get to everybody faster.
> Texinfo-using packages currently install only '.info' files which lose
> data about images which can be viewed with a (very, "CVS", "snapshot")
> recent Emacs and not much else. And .info files are a presentation
> format for TeXinfo, which is much more semantic than info (it's also
> much harder to render info file in non-monospace type in a pretty way
> than texinfo for the same reason).
> The idea is that it's advantageous for everybody: for maintainers who
> can simply install source document files; for users who can easily
> read them even when they change slightly; for documentors who can
> easily update them and send their changes to maintainers.
I think you're confused about my intentions. This kind of 'distribution in
source' is perfectly compatible with where I want to go. Composition
format, distribution format, and presentation format are three different
things, and my vision of HTML as the only *presentation* format really
does not fix anything about composition or distribution formats.
> We can guess what users will want to do more commonly with help than
> with regular web pages (like "next page", "up", "find topic"), so we
> can also optimize for that.
> When I load untranslated document inside Yelp, I want it to show me
> user interface elements using translated Serbian terms (which is what
> I'll see). If we dump Yelp, we won't be able to do that, but we can
> extend a specialized help-browser to support something like this
> (though, this is not yet supported in Yelp, and nobody is actually
> working on it, but it's an example of how you can make it better in
> And take for example printing: we can do much better printouts from
> dedicated help reader then from a web browser which is usually good
> only at printing web pages. One by one.
These all seem to me to be arguments for improving generalized web browsers
rather than investing lots of effort in specialized help browsers. At least
<a href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/">Eric S. Raymond</a>
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