Emacs Should Adopt HTML as Texinfo Replacement
Dan Davison wrote:
What does this syntax mean? “See Info node `(viper)Top'.”
Is there some way of using it to immediately access the info node referred to?
Lennart Borgman wrote:
M-: (info "(viper) Top")
It'd be much better if emacs adopted HTML as its standard doc format.
It would then just be: [http://gnu.org/doc/emacs/viper/top.html]
in this format, every programer understand what it is. In
(info "(viper)Top") or
(viper)Top, maybe 0.001% of programers knew what it is. If we count among all emacs users who used emacs for at least 1 year, the percentage is perhaps 10%.
Personally, i use emacs daily, staying in emacs most of the time when
using computer, since 1998, and have been using text terminal based emacs
exclusively from 1998 to 2005. I didn't know what is
until 2005 or so thru chatting in freenode's emacs irc.
Adopting HTML as standard doc format is easy to do, in fact mostly just a political gesture. The texinfo util already does export to HTML, and most if not all GNU's doc are already presented in HTML format on GNU's site.
With adoption of HTML, people will naturally cite doc by URL instead
of lisp code
(info …). This will help understanding and consequently
spread emacs. For example, if in a discussion in some programing forum,
someone might mention “look (info xyz) in emacs”. Vast majority of readers
wouldn't understand what that is will simply ignore it. But if HTML doc
is official, then the citing would be [http://gnu.org/doc/xyz.html], and
those who saw this are very likely to click it.
By adopting HTML now, it can pave the way for emacs transition to using HTML/XHTML as integrated doc component. For example, currently there's w3m for reading HTML. However, it's some 5 times slower than Firefox, and some 5 times slower than info reading texinfo. However, this can be improved. One could have HTML/XML parser builtin elisp as c code (or borrowing the rendering engine from Firefox), so that reading HTML docs in emacs is acceptably fast as current reading in info.
The integrated nature of info in emacs is really a joy to use, especially programing in elisp. You can lookup any function or keyword in the language so easily, and all cross-referenced by a click-able link. However, if the language is not elisp but Perl, Python, PHP, etc, then it's not so easy because you often have to download and install a info version of their doc (if it exist at all), and depending whether the guy who implemented your lang's mode took the fancy to implement info doc lookup features. (in late 1990s, it's not uncommon to see in a newsgroup or mailing list where someone asking about a info version of a language's documentation so that she can browse it in emacs. Today, HTML and browser is so universal and rooted, the “GNU info” format almost unknown outside of hardcore FSF/GNU community.)
Note: Here's some explanation of “M-: (info "(viper) Top")”. The “M-:” is emacs's notation for keyboard shortcut
This shortcut invokes the command eval-expression. So, in order to go to the documentation for “viper” in emacs, a user is told to evaluate the lisp expression
(info "(viper) Top").
Emacs M-x key Notation vs Alt+x Notation.
the issue resurfaced by esr.
[On being web-friendly and why info must die By Eric S Raymond. At https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-devel/2014-12/msg00347.html , accessed on 2014-12-07 ]
- Simple Changes Emacs Should Adopt
- Why Emacs Keys are Painful
- Ban Scratch Buffer
- M-x vs Alt+x Notation
- Menu Idiocy
- Mode Line Problem
- cua-mode Problem
- Inconsistency of Search
- grep in emacs Pain
- Problems of describe-mode
- Problems of Emacs Manual
- Emacs Manual Sucks by Examples
- kill-buffer Problem
- Emacs Spell Checker Pain
- Form Feed ^L
- Single Key Delete Whole Line
- Emacs HTML Mode Sucks
- Emacs No View Image on Windows
- HTML should replace Texinfo
- Support HTML Mail
- Problems of “man”
- Emacs Lisp Mode Syntax Coloring Problem
- Emacs AHK Mode Problems
- Ban Syntax Table
- Make elisp-index-search use Current Symbol
- Texinfo Invalid HTML
- Disappearing FSF URLs, 2006
- Emacs Manual Node Persistency Issues
- Emacs: dired-do-query-replace-regex Replace ALL (fixed)
- Problems of Emacs Supporting Obsolete Systems
- Elisp: Function to Copy/Delete a Dir Recursively (fixed)
- CommonLisp/SchemeLisp Emacs
- Text Editors Popularity
- Cursor Movement Behavior Survey
- Letter-Case Commands Problem
- Select Line/Block/Quote, Extend
- isearch Current Word
- Reformat Line Wrap
Put $5 at https://www.patreon.com/xahlee , or goto paypal.com and pay to Xah@XahLee.org . Message me on XahLee discord, say so, ask me questions.
Or Buy Xah Emacs Tutorial