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Re: On the size of the command set

From: Travis P <svn_at_castle.fastmail.fm>
Date: 2004-10-03 07:36:19 CEST

On Oct 2, 2004, at 1:00 PM, Greg Hudson wrote:

> It would be like the Subversion book including two different
> reference cards with the same information organized in different
> ways--theoretically a win, but in practice, likely to confuse more
> people than it helps.

I think that both could be useful. Serving different contexts.

I happen to enjoy having both a table of contents (grouping by some
author-decided-upon-and-imposed criteria) and an index in many books.
Yes, the things grouped in books aren't exactly the same, but I think
the idea holds. And people are not confused by the idea. I've
actually had reference cards that worked as you proposed and found both
options very useful. (I'm specifically remembering a card for 65C816
assembly language mnemonics where they were grouped by function and
also alphabetically.)

In particular, learning a new system, a TOC often helps give a map of
ideas that is useful and helps one find relevant similar information
about a topic.

When returning for reference, I think a (sorted) index is most useful.
Greg's example where one knows several possibilities and needs to
isolate the one this particular resource uses is a good one that I
experience relatively often.

Since new users might benefit more from the categorized (TOC-style)
help, it seems reasonable that that would be a reasonable default and
that same screen would mention a '--sorted' help switch for sorted
(index-style) help which the more experienced user might want (don't
make the user do a 'svn help help' to discover the sorted option). I'd
most likely prefer the index and the thought of using the extra typing
for such an option seems unpleasant -- but I can easily enough make an

I'm thinking that TOC help by default might be the better approach for
new users (I'm specifically contemplating specific new users for which
I will be the live help resource, so I've a stake in the non-live help
being as useful as possible. :-)


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Received on Sun Oct 3 07:36:33 2004

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