[Doc-SIG] An 'apropos' utility for documentations

John Skaller skaller@maxtal.com.au
Fri, 11 Dec 1998 13:33:06 +1000

At 13:26 9/12/98 -0500, Fred L. Drake wrote:
>My response:
>  I think this would be really nice to have.  As far as I'm aware,
>such systems are still largely research projects, with some
>applications having reached deployment (you point to good examples).
>To do this for the Python documentation (defined as broadly as
>needed), the most-needed thing to accomplish this is someone who can
>donate time and know-how.

        I've been thinking for a while on the following
somewhat related problem: a lot of library docstrings are
missing. It's all very well for Guido to ask for patches,
but this has to be the most inconvenient update mechanism

        And then I saw the TODO list Ken put up. 
Which is excellent! So, if there were a way to 
make an _online_ list of every function, class, and module
in the library, with the current docstring, and allow
everyone to add docstrings over the Internet, like the TODO list,
we'd have more people able to make small contributions.
[There are some interesting issues here, such as foreign
language docstrings. Why English?]

        Anyhow, the same mechanism could help to build
a Python 'thesarus', at least for the standard distribution.

        Do you have any idea how long it took me
to find the function that copies files?? I knew
it was there, somewhere. But the silly thing
is called 'filecopy' not 'copyfile', <g> and it's
hidden away in a module with an apparently
unrelated name. 'shutils'. 
John Skaller    email: skaller@maxtal.com.au
		phone: 61-2-96600850
		snail: 10/1 Toxteth Rd, Glebe NSW 2037, Australia