[Python-Dev] Online docs: make index search available everywhere

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Thu Sep 6 00:13:04 CEST 2012

For the Windows Help version of the docs, the left side box has 4 tabs: 
Contents, Index, Search, Favorites. I now mostly use the Index tab. That 
means that I can enter an indexed keyword, topic, or object name and 
jump from place to place in the docs.

The left margin of the online docs only has a text search box equivalent 
to the Windows search tab (which I essentially never use). The index is 
only available on the front page, possibly not even visible without 
scrolling. Consequently, people, especially beginners, tend to use the 
text search box when they should be using the index. The result is often 

The issue came up on python-list about a beginner entering 'print' and 
getting nothing useful. With the Windows doc, 'print' in the index 
search immediately brings up print (builtin function) (twice, I did not 
look into why). The same thing in the search lists 153 pages, with the 
builtin functions page at 75. Not too surprising, as it is a long page 
with only 3 occurrences of 'print'. Also not useful.

So I think the online docs should also have an always available index 
search box in addition to the text search box (which should be properly 
labeled as such). 'Enter a module, class, for function name.' should be 
applied to index search, not text search.

An alternative is for the one box to give both index search results and 
text search results, but doing the latter when one only wants the former 
is a waste of both server and reader resources.

I presume this suggestion does not belong on bugs.python.org, so I hope 
one of the docs people reading pydev will do something with it.

Terry Jan Reedy

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