Re: Seams [sic] to be a good idea
> % moreover: wouldn't it be possible (or
> % there already something like that) to
> % create a kind of (desktop
> % database, where apps may register
> % itself.
> And, preparing all (given and future)
> applications to work with the
> online-database is waste of time. As I
> wrote, using a derivate of pkgconfig,
> the dialog can create the database "on
> the fly" and synchronize its local
> database with a database at
> FreeDesktop.org. This is more easy to
> implement and works quite automated. The
> user selects an application and clicks
> on the parameter button. The parameter
> dialog parses the parameter-list,
> displays it and stores the parsed
> information in its local database. By
> time, the parameter dialog tries to
> connect to the online-database for
> synchronization. So easy it is! In turn,
> the desktop can base on a dynamically
> updated application-database for i.e.
> the Search Tool or the "run command"
The magical part of this idea is that it distributes the work of creating the documentation the original poster asked for to any end user that is willing to take on any small part of the problem. To restate: Joe somebody wants to use program foo. Gnome runs it with the --version switch, looks on the online database, finds nothing. It automatically parses the SYNOPSIS section of the man page if it exists, then Gnome throws a "please help document this program" dialog, which has buttons/tabs to show the man and/or info pages. The end user then has the option of doing something to help without knowing how to write one line of code. Then, when you have already got the information collected, you can offer a service to the developers, giving them the option of incorporating that into their program in some useful way (maybe a --user-generated-preparsed-xml-help flag or something) Basically, I'm agreeing with the concept of "offload as much as possible from the developer so they can write and debug programs, not support yet another documentation style". Now, the question is how to moderate abuse without eating someone's time linearly with respect to the number of programs and versions thereof.