[links-list] Re: development ideas [type-ahead find]

Per Bothner per at bothner.com
Mon Nov 25 17:42:30 PST 2002

Josef 'Jupp' Schugt wrote:

> You did never write documentations using SGMLtools, did you?
> Otherwise you wouldn't write that...

I have written documentation using DocBook, and in some ways it
is a better format than texinfo, and in some ways texinfo is
preferable.  (texinfo is less verbose for one thing.)

But you're is missing my point.  I'm not talking about the file
format for the documentation *source* (texbook vs docbook).
I'm talking about the file format for *displaying* documentation
online.  Here we're talking about info vs html.  Clearly html is
the better format.  I would like to lobby the FSF to drop the
info file format, and to replace the info program with a
suitable html browser.  Ideally, the 'info' program in future
GNU/Linux releases would just be an alias for some web browser,
possibly links, perhaps with some changed defaults.

I was talking about some of the features we would need in
the web browser before we can make a good case for dropping info.

> Visit http://IceWMfaq.cjb.net/ and then tell me why you prefer using
> texinfo instead.

Because texinfo is a less verbose format?  Because texinfo isn't
quite so over-engineered as Docbook?

Furthermore, using SGML rather than XML in this day and age is
ridiculous.  Using XML lets you feed your documents to lots of
tools, it is much easier to parse, plus it is buzzword-compliant.
Using SGML means you're depending on old, fragile, barely-maintained
and hard-to-understand tools.

The main reason for using Docbook is that there are tools for
converting it to multiple formats.  But texinfo can be converted
to dvi/ps/pdf, html, info, and xml, so that advantage isn't so
clear-cut.  However, if you use docbook-xml then at least it is easy
to write other converters, for example using xslt.  (I wrote some
tools to convert docbook-xml to legible latex, using xslt.  It
allowed be to write a two-column article easily, which was beyond
the capabilities of jadetex.)
	--Per Bothner
per at bothner.com   http://www.bothner.com/per/

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