[NTG-context] What about dynamic documentation?

Jérôme Laurens jerome.laurens at u-bourgogne.fr
Fri Dec 16 08:31:45 CET 2005


Le 6 déc. 05, à 14:59, Taco Hoekwater a écrit :

>
> Hi Jérôme,
>
> Before you go any further on this, please check out:
>
>   http://texshow.contextgarden.net
>

Thanks, here is at least a starting point.
However, this seems rather far from the pdf manuals and does not really 
help a newbie as I am.
More precisely:

0 - Category search is missing. It is well known that searching by 
contents or by command name won't give the proper result if the search 
request is not well formed a priori.
Each command should have a list of associated key words, allowing smart 
navigation and filtering
For example, the sectionning commands (including toc, headers and so 
on) could be gathered in one big category.

1 - The examples oftenly need output to let the user really understand 
the effect.
Moreover, the information available in the graphical output is more 
obvious thus more efficient.

2 - Missing code template(s) to paste into the source, copy/paste does 
noot help when really needed. Of course, I can grab them from 
contextgarden but it is there both hidden and not  well formatted.

3 - The description only concerns the command.
Each key should also have its own description.
Each predefined value should also have its own description.
Then the user interface can provide a layout a la headerdoc or some 
kind of rollup tooltips.

4 - The data storage model for a size range seems weird. The range 5pt 
... 12pt is coded with an ordered list of 3 values "5pt" '..." and 
"12pt" whereas it means an unordered list of 8 values: "5pt", "6pt", 
..., "12pt". This latter data model obviously turns into a pop up 
button with a list of sizes.

5 - The command variants might need specials (eg \setupinterlinespace).

6 - Sometimes the acceptable values depend on the context (eg arguments 
of \ref), it means that all the relevant information is not static and 
the data model should provide some entry points. But at first glance 
this is a very advanced feature which cost might be unaffordable.

Finally, it seems that the underlying data model needs more entropy.

A -

Comments?


> The backbone of texshow-web is a set of XML files that
> are already present in the distribution (look for cont-en.xml)
>
> Cheers, Taco
>
> Jérôme Laurens wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> Is is extremely useful for a newbie as I am to have access to the 
>> manuals electronically.
>> You just open the pdf and search to obtain what you need.
>> In general, you end up with a command that you have to copy from the 
>> pdf then paste to your source file.
>> Another solution is to use the text editor completion feature, which 
>> is available only once you know the correct command name, at least 
>> the beginning...
>> What I am missing is a button in the pdf itself that would 
>> automagically insert the proper code in my source.
>> To be more concrete, here is what could be done (on Mac OS X at 
>> least).
>> 0 - Define a data model.
>> 1 - For a reasonnable set of commands, define dedicated GUIs panels.
>> 2 - Write a dedicated browser
>> As there is a huge amount of "reasonnable" TeX and ConTeXt commands, 
>> it is -not- reasonnable to fine tune a dedicated GUI for each one.
>> But with some perl I think it would be possible to turn for example 
>> the Quick References Manuals into a set of xml files, each one 
>> dedicated to its own command. If these files are just HTML forms 
>> (modulo the proper style and automagic filter), we have the GUI for 
>> free using a web browser. The communication between the browser and 
>> the text editor could come from SUBMIT. At least a "copy/paste" phase 
>> would be enough.
>> I already have a custom web browser that can insert some text 
>> directly in a text editor (iTeXMac) It is based on Mac OS X WebKit.
>> Which means that I will incorporate this browser directly into iTM, 
>> but this not the question so far.
>> All this makes points 1 and 2 above acceptable IMHO.
>> The problems come from point 0.
>> I think a good thing would be to create a subsection of the context 
>> garden, or another wiki, gathering all the sources.
>> The seed would come from the actual documentation with automagic 
>> scripts and people would update at will.
>> Then people would be able to work on a local version using a web 
>> sucker.
>> We can imagine searching facilities as well
>> BTW, Sometimes it is necessary to have some output to understand the 
>> real effect of a command. This should enter into consideration.
>> How does it sound?
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>> ntg-context at ntg.nl
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