On Wed, Dec 05, 2001 at 05:51:12PM +0100, Rebecca J. Walter wrote:
> GNOME has been working on a new help browser that works with XML and
> scrollkeeper directly. It is worth checking.  Also worth a look is the
> project David Merril is working on that will make it possible to use the
> XML files and Scrollkeeper stuff with any browser. It is called
> Scrollserver I think.

I can probably give a little bit more info about these, since I'm
helping to complete the gnome help browser and I've done a small bit of
hacking on ScrollServer.

Firstly, the help browser (yelp) that's intended for GNOME 2 is probably
not appropriate as the "lowest denominator". It depends (at least) on
the libxml2, libxslt and the gnome-vfs module, which means libbonobo as
well (bonobo isn't used in yelp, but it's a requirement for gnome-vfs).
So while it will serve any document that is available in scrollkeeper or
info or man pages, gimp still needs something simpler for its own use.
Yelp will also work with a file passed as a parameter to use for the
help file (resolved into an absolute URI by some fairly well-defined

Secondly, activity on ScrollServer has slackened a bit lately, since
both David Merrill and I have been doing other things. It just presents
a front-end to scrollkeeper so that requests can be made of it as if to
a webserver and pages are returned in HTML format. All the conversion of
XML -> HTML is done on the fly (well, cached) by scrollserver. The
dependencies there would be python 2.0 or greater, libxml2 and libxslt.
ScrollServer seems like a nice idea to me, but nothing uses it, so I
have no idea whether it's actually useful or not.

My gut feeling is that serving help pages for a single application from
something like ScrollServer is overkill and tricky to manage.

Now it's possible that yelp could be slightly adjusted to build and
perform at some level of functionality without gnome-vfs. After all, it
only uses the gnome-vfs-help library to resolve the uri to look up and
to convert it to html (which is really just a call to an external
process). The name resolving is much simpler in the gimp and the
conversion stuff could either use the same external program or just make
direct C calls to libxslt. Right now, this modification isn't going to
happen, since we're under the hammer to get something ready asap for
GNOME 2. But the design would allow an add-on like this pretty easily, I

But really, I don't know what the answers are. I just thought I'd
through out some opinions and maybe if people want to think this way it
will be useful.


A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
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