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Re: Texinfo vs man (was: Re: Debian GNU/Linux Reference Card under construction)

On Mon, May 03, 2004 at 10:58:04AM +0200, Jan Nieuwenhuizen wrote:
> > More information _is_ a problem when you need a quick and terse summary
> When it is, it's a good idea, and easy to include a reference card, or
> cheat sheet in the (info) documentation.  I'm not convinced that the
> best way to provide quick access to documentation in a reference card
> or cheat-sheet like manner is to provide different types means of
> documentation browsers.

If that is your problem, then you should use a program like "konqueror",
which allows you to browse both manpages, info pages, websites, and
other sources of documentation.

> > you will be much better off with walking a bunch of hypertext links
> > and we have so much more to say
> This is really not what I want to advocate.  Of course quick and easy
> access is good.  That's a reason why I think that different possible
> sources to hunt for information is not the ideal situation.
> The index should bring you where you want to go, that's only one link
> away.  It should be quicker than string searching.  If not, I consider
> that to be a bug.

Searching an index requires a string search, too. Which has to be done
manually, usually (because one doesn't often know what the node is
called, unless one knows the documentation already). If the table of
contents is large, you require some time to manually find the right
link. The alternative would be to split the table of contents in
multiple sections, but then that will require you to iterate the
"search, move cursor, select item" cycle a few times, which often takes
even longer.

A string search is massively faster IMHO.

> > Tutorials have their place; so do reference cards.  Mixing those is
> > not a good idea.
> Hmm.  I think it would be great if every info document had a top-level
> menu node called `Quick reference card'.

Yes, but not all of them do. In fact, most of them don't.

     smog  |   bricks
 AIR  --  mud  -- FIRE
soda water |   tequila
 -- with thanks to fortune

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