Living with Info

Since my previous rant on Info
files
, I have
had yet another run in with GNU’s documentation system. This has
brought a couple of things to the forefront. First, that I have
some more random ramblings on the subject of GNU. Secondly, that
this time I couldn’t take it, and decided to find some things
that would make life livable with Info.

In my googlings, I found a discussion of
Info
in which the
Info-lovers seemed to be at a genuine loss to understand why the
rest of us despise Info with a passion. Almost without fail, you
find that the Info-apologist, at some point, says that they love
being able to navigate Info from Emacs. There is Info’s sweet
spot. If you are one of those poor souls who lives in Emacs (I
look up man and info alike from the commandline), Info will seem
pretty sweet. Bindings similar to the main editor (less bends
more towards the vi side of things), and the documentation
browser embedded in the editor. Not half bad. They also maintain
that the hyperlinks are an awesome part of it. As if text
browsers don’t exist or haven’t been fully integrated into Emacs
(everything is in Emacs, except a good text editor).

Fortuantely, there is hope. There are ways to avoid interacting
with info proper. The first option, on Server
Fault
,
is to convert them to plain text with info itself. Just run:

info --subnodes --output=output.txt infopage

And all of the nodes on the info page will be dumped into the
given output file. This can then be viewed with the pager of your
choice.

Another option, posited by the denizens of
reddit
is an application named
pinfo. It is a
nice little info page browser with lynx/vi/less like bindings.

I have tried both, but I tend to find myself dumping Info files
out to text more often and viewing them with less. It is much
more manly.

Noweb & Vim

I just posted my first vim script, a syntax file, to vim.org: http://vim.sourceforge.net/scripts/script.php?script_id=3038

It is a little mode, of sorts, for working with Noweb files in vim. Basically, it uses one syntax for the doc chunks, another for code chunks, and autofolds the code chunks (off by default). Folding just feels natural with code chunks. I am using it now with one of my tinkering projects and, despite its minimal size, a mere 35 lines, it is really nice.

Of course, it would be a little odd to write some code to facilitate literal programming in a nonliteral style. I will be posting the full literate version here, shortly.