[Python-Dev] Searching Python docs (Was: Python sidebar for Mozilla/Netscape)

Tim Peters tim.one@comcast.net
Sun, 07 Apr 2002 03:53:55 -0400

> [Fred]
>> .... The only (substantial) reason I've not been building the
>> HTML Help version is that I've not had the time to figure out
>> how to do it.  I don't think it's all that difficult, but I need
>> to spend a little time with it and make sure I understand the tools.

[Hernan Martinez Foffani]
> I'll be glad to help you whenever you tackle this. (email me)

Me too.  I grabbed the MS Help Compiler and Robin Dunn's version of your
script, and got a nice .chm for the distributed 2.2 docs after just one
reboot <wink/sigh>.  So I can walk Fred thru it in person now, incl. trivial
changes (like setting the contents to show folders instead of "book" icons,
and adding a Favorites tab, and telling the display window to remember its
last size instead of opening too small to use each time - Fred will want all

> ...
> For instance, I bet that one big nuisance for Fred is that the help
> compiler won't run under Unix so it can't be automated under the make
> docs. He will have to change OS or PC back and forth if he has to
> modify the latex sources, etc.

Fred has a family, and all families run Windows in the US -- I think it may
even be a law <wink>.  I see that if nothing in the process screws up, going
from Fred's HTML to a .chm goes very quickly (just a few minutes).

> Besides, the script parses the HTML files to pickup some relevant
> data (headers to build the TOC) so it can be sensitive to changes
> in the template and/or the latex2html program.

That's the part Fred needs to understand.  I ignored all that:  thanks!  You
made this very easy.

> ...
> The Windows user has many (I know of three) options to choose to
> install Python and all for free. Right now, PLabs' installer is
> pretty cool, I don't think we really need more fancy things here.

MSI is especially important to corporate users, as it (at least in theory)
allows admins to do mass remote installations and patch upgrades easily.
The Wise 8.14 installer-builder has *some* sort of support for part of that
too, but it appears it would take yet another near-total rewrite of the
install script to exploit it.  The part I'd be keenest to do (but won't do)
is allowing for much smaller Windows patch releases.

> BTW, if PLabs ever decide to add an HTML Help file a minor change
> will be needed in IDLE code.

Also to the installer (to fix the Python Docs shortcut), but these changes
are dead easy.  I'm all in favor of Fred making this possible <wink>.

A caution:  If it ever goes wrong in a deep way, we're hosed.  MS says
they'll never release another update to this system, and, indeed, the viewer
component they make available on the HTML Help web site appears permanently
obsolete now (IE 6 ships with a newer one).  I expect this is just fallout
from Neil Hodgson's:

    And then there's the new Document Explorer which uses the new .HxS
    file format.  Microsoft changes documentation format and viewer apps
    every couple of years or so to inflict a mixture of pain and wonder
    on us serfs.