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Re: Info sucks?

> Avery Pennarun:
> >         - nice print-out formatting

Darren Benham:
> And Easy.  With man a simple "man xyz | lp" or "info xyz | lp" gets me the
> complete documentation.. some web pages you have to load and print each
> page/chapter/section individually.

Of course, printing info pages directly (without texinfo source) looks
awful, which is what started this discussion.  man pages print nicely, but
it's not that easy to print _all_ the perl man pages in one shot.

> > "man" doesn't have hyperlinks; "info" doesn't seem to have graphics;
> > current html implementations don't have proper keyword searches, content
> > frames, or indices.
> HTML: not to mention the fast, small browser (and if you use lynx, you
> lose the other benefits of colors and graphics)

KDE's help browser is faster than Netscape, at least.  There are others
around too.  One nice thing about html is you do have choice -- if you need
quick information, use lynx.  If you need the graphics to look nice, use
netscape or your favourite mini-browser.

> Avery Pennarun:
> > In summary, there _is_ no good documentation format/reader for Unix yet. 
> > HTML and SGML are the closest, because at least they do graphics and
> > hyperlinks.  With some effort, they could have nice tables of contents,
> > indices, and full-text searches.

Ben Pfaff:
> The only thing that Info doesn't provide, out of that list, is
> graphics.  And graphics are of little utility in documentation
> IMarrogantO.

IMequally-arrogantO, graphics are extremely important.  Sure, you can write
about glibc without graphics and be perfectly okay.  But for modern
programs, graphics can be a real aid.  For example: class inheritence,
screen shots, equations, block and flow diagrams... you can't do them well
without graphics.  And if your format doesn't support graphics, you simply
can't document some things that way.  Yuck.

Naturally, I don't want to look like I want all documentation to be in HTML
format... in its current form, that's ugly too.  DocBook-SGML looks pretty
powerful, if only I could figure it out.

I find this discussion interesting, because I've always been disgusted with
documentation readers (not the documentation itself!) on computers.  Printed
books are just old-fashioned, and computerized manuals should be more
efficient -- but they're not.  Has anyone here read "The Trouble with
Computers"?  In it, the author describes the development process for a book
reader that's _still_ better than anything we've got today.  Too bad they
didn't release it as Open Source.

Have fun,


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