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Re^5: Perl 6 Pod -- reinventing the wheel?

by chromatic (Archbishop)
on Nov 25, 2006 at 05:51 UTC ( #585972=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^4: Perl 6 Pod -- reinventing the wheel?
in thread Perl6 Pod -- reinventing the wheel?

You didn't respond to what I consider the two most important reasons why Texinfo is a poor fit.

I'm curious to see your proposal for (what I believe will be a non-standard) escaping syntax so that comments that include Perl arrays don't accidentally turn into Texinfo directives.

Also, I stand by my assertion that any "solution" that doesn't allow people on any platform other than GNU/Linux to produce documents is completely unacceptable.

What if you already know and use markup X (where, I'm thinking Texinfo here)? If Perl6 Pod became "just like X", now your productivity at creating docs all of a sudden just went up substantially.

What if all of the existing Perl users have already encountered POD in its current form? Again, one of the major principles of the Perl 6 redesign is "Don't change things arbitrarily. Changes require compelling justifications of cleanliness, simplicity, discoverability, and consistency."

If Perl6 Pod went X, now the developers who were going to be reworking Perl5's POD tools are now freed-up and can instead spend time hacking Perl6.

Damian volunteered to revise POD for Perl 6. As I said before, at least three members of the Perl 6 design team have written more than one book in POD. We believe it is a solid system.

As a side note, be very careful about even intimating that you can tell a volunteer developer what he or she should work on.

The Perl community would be doing its part to stave off the "Yet Another Doc Format" situation.

As you admit, POD already exists.

So again, with licensing problems, syntax problems, and the arbitrariness of such a dramatic change in the face of little benefit (and contra the previous two problems), what exactly again is the benefit?

Also, what in the world do you mean by "reinventing the wheel"?

Also, I've tried to use info many times and found that it never lived up to its name.

(Also, it's "Perl 6".)

Update: reworded.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re^6: Perl 6 Pod -- reinventing the wheel?
by j3 (Friar) on Nov 25, 2006 at 08:43 UTC
    Sorry -- this thread seems to be blowing way out of proportion. I may have unintentionally hit a nerve.
    I am still waiting for your explanation of the escaping syntax so that comments that include Perl arrays don't accidentally turn into Texinfo directives.

    Oh. I don't think I understand what you're talking about. In that Texinfo example I was using in the OP, I figured:

    # This is a regular comment. Don't start one of # these with a '#@'. #@ This could be a Pod comment. #@ Make sure they always start with a '#@'.
    I am still waiting for you to realize that any "solution" that doesn't allow people on any platform other than GNU/Linux to produce documents is completely unacceptable.

    Last time I used MS Windows I either used ActivePerl and read the local docs with Firefox, or else installed Cygwin and read them using perldoc in a bash shell. I guess if you need docs accessible in some sort on MS Windows shell, and if makeinfo can't be made available for that environment, then GNU's makeinfo is out.

    Why did you ignore those two points in your response? They are of supreme importance!

    Sorry -- didn't mean to ignore them.

    What if you already know and use markup X (where, I'm thinking Texinfo here)? If Perl6 Pod became "just like X", now your productivity at creating docs all of a sudden just went up substantially.
    What if all of the existing Perl users already have encountered POD in its current form? Again, one of the major principles of the Perl 6 redesign is "Don't change things arbitrarily. Changes require compelling justifications of cleanliness, simplicity, discoverability, and consistency."

    Then their productivity writing docs stays the same I suppose. Look, I agreed that I don't think Texinfo is an order of magnitude better than Perl 6 Pod. I *do* think that Texinfo is fairly well-used and has tools already available. My comment you're replying to there is just additional considerations to think about: that is, even though Texinfo probably isn't 10 times better than Pod (your criteria), there are some less tangible benefits to it. That's all. Maybe those less-tangibles don't weigh very much here. Maybe they don't weigh much at all. That's what I was hoping to find out more about in my original post.

    Damian volunteered to revise POD for Perl 6.
    And we're all very grateful for it.
    We believe it is a solid system.

    Sweet. Recall, in the original post I asked about if Perl 6 Pod is reinventing the wheel and (assuming it was), why. I was not implying that Perl 6 Pod wasn't solid.

    As a side note, be very careful about even intimating that you can tell a volunteer developer what he or she should work on.

    I hope I haven't ever given that impression. It's certainly none of my business what itches folks choose to scratch. Neither is it any of my business to try and guide the path of any project that isn't my own. I can still be curious about why that path was chosen though.

    So again, with licensing problems, syntax problems, and the arbitrariness of such a dramatic change in the face of little benefit (and contra the previous two problems), what exactly again is the benefit?

    Seems like there's some benefits as well as drawbacks (outlined elsewhere in this post and others). I was asking if maybe it would be simpler to use a pre-existing doc system (like, for example, maybe Texinfo, since it came to mind while I was posting, and since I've used it before and it seemed pretty good for this type of use, and since it is GPL'd (like one of Perl's licenses) and the FSF uses it for all their software).

    Also, what in the world do you mean by "reinventing the wheel"?

    I meant this:

    1. Programming language project needs way to include docs in source.
    2. Perl 5 POD is created.
    3. Time passes.
    4. According to S26, "The Pod Dialect": "Compared to Perl 5 POD, Perldoc's Pod dialect is much more uniform, somewhat more compact, and considerably more expressive.". So it seems that the project was at some point in the recent past looking for a much more uniform, somewhat more compact, and considerably more expressive alternative to Perl 5 POD.
    5. This reader (yours truly) says to self, "Hey, I think there are already existing alternatives like that!".
    6. For various reasons, this reader assumes that Perl 6 Pod is substantially different than Perl 5 POD, and thinks the switch to Perl 6 Pod involves a rewrite and a lot of work.
    7. Rewriting when already-written/tested/mature alternatives are available looks like reinventing the wheel to the reader. Reader posts about it, but seems to inadvertantly ruffle some feathers.
    Also, I've tried to use info many times and found that it never lived up to its name.

    Personally, I tend to have to relearn it every time I touch it, but I figure that's just because I use man pages far more often (since they're much simpler to use). That said, I really like the DVI and PDF output generated from texi docs though. Also I like that you can put mathematics in your Texinfo docs.

    (Also, it's "Perl 6".)
    I've been using "Perl6" because I thought it would be easier to google for later on.
      I am still waiting for your explanation of the escaping syntax so that comments that include Perl arrays don't accidentally turn into Texinfo directives.
      Oh. I don't think I understand what you're talking about. In that Texinfo example I was using in the OP, I figured:
      # This is a regular comment. Don't start one of # these with a '#@'. #@ This could be a Pod comment. #@ Make sure they always start with a '#@'.

      chromatic isn't talking about this. How do you suggest to escape these so that texinfo parses them correctly?

      #@ @node do_something #@ #@ @array has to be defined. #@ #@ You'd use this @emph{awesome} function.. #@ #@ Also note that hash slices like @hash{oops} are needed. #@

        Heh. Well, that one sailed right over my head when I originally posted. :) Thanks.

        I guess then, one could scratch that initial idea about starting each comment line with '#@' and instead just take a nod from the way existing POD does it and wrap the texi docs in =pod/=cut blocks.

        (Edit: Yes, this wouldn't fix that problem either, though, at least it would look just like plain unadorned Texinfo, so the user would do the usual escaping they do when writing an '@' sign -- which could be pretty frequent if documenting a Perl program. Oh well.)

        Anyhow, the whole thing is moot, regardless. It seems that some very smart and experienced people have already volunteered and are interested in putting in the work. Evidently, there's justification for extending Perl 5 POD rather than leaping to some other already-established doc format, and it's accepted that new Perl 6 users will just have to get used to it in addition to whatever other doc formats they currently use for their other documentation needs. Maybe Perl 6 Pod is meant to be general enough to service those general documentation needs as well. Not sure yet.

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