Re: Are UNIX manpages obsolete?

Subject: Re: Are UNIX manpages obsolete?
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Wed, 2 Oct 1996 15:03:16 +0800

Sandi -

> We already use a single source (SGML), which we then convert to both
> HTML and manpage format. Generating the manpages is not the problem;
> what is causing me to reconsider our use of manpages is the addition
> of C++ and Java (and possibly other languages) interfaces to the
> existing C interfaces.

Aha. Somehow I got the impression you were a small outfit testing the
waters -- sorry for my egg-sucking advice.

I'd still do some research among your existing users. They should be able
to suggest how the pages can be structured so they are useful and not too
unwieldy.

> Typically. . . a reference page for a class includes all the
> documentation for the member functions, constructor, operators,
> etc., which could result in extremely long manpages.

Can you map any of these topics to the standard volumes -- perhaps
(2) System Calls; (3) Subroutines; (5) File Formats; and good old
(7) Miscellaneous? That way someone can do "man -s 3 foo" to get just
function info for foo, or "man foo" for the lot.

> If there is a C++ class named "Foo" and a Java class named
> "Foo", which one should the user see when they enter "man Foo"?

Hmmm. . . make the default language a user preference, either by setting
an environment variable or by using MANPATH to specify the search order?

Regards
---
Stuart (a UNIX man, not yet obsolete) Burnfield
(slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au)
Functional Software Pty Ltd


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