[Pkg-emacsen-addons] Proposal/discussion for providing cheatsheets for emacs shortcuts

Nicholas D Steeves nsteeves at gmail.com
Tue Jun 27 00:24:48 UTC 2017

Dear Antoine,

I've CCed you because of our correspondence about Calibre and because
of your interest in possibly joining pkg-emacsen.

Dear Emacsen Team,

This idea/proposal/discussion emerged from a package sponsorship
discussion with Sean.  If you're pressed for time and don't care about
the context than please skip to "tldr"; however, please don't reject
the whole proposal based on the possibility discussed in the tldr :-)

To: 864912 at bugs.debian.org
From: Sean Whitton <spwhitton at spwhitton.name>
Subject: Re: Bug#864912: RFS: emacs-ivy/0.9.1+dfsg-1 [ITP]

On Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 09:46:18PM +0100, Sean Whitton wrote:
> Hello Nicholas,
> On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 02:35:20PM -0400, Nicholas D Steeves wrote:
> > I wonder if we should generate printable keyboard shortcut pages in
> > PDF for all elpa modes that have an extensive set, and install those
> > to /usr/share/docs?
> If you can come up with a way to do it for every mode, sure.

In the absence of debhelper my current implementation is running a
pandoc command to generate a two-column letter-size portrait
orientation PDF in override_dh_installdocs.  The obvious downside is
that most of the world uses A4 and this wastes paper.  I suspect that
a custom-size PDF that fits inside 210x279.4 with minimal margins
might work for everyone...  Ideally I'd like to see zero margin PDFs
that can be printed with "lp -d `find /usr/share/doc -name
cheatsheet.pdf | grep 'emacs\|el\|elpa' | uniq`", with the addition of
a special command to put a right-edge gutter on left-hand pages
(opposite for right pages), so that the resulting cheet-sheets could
be put into a quick-reference binder.

Honestly I'm not sure what the best format is for allowing someone to
1) Print collection of cheatsheets for a manual in loose-leaf binder
2) Print collection of cheatsheets into a top-bound manual or
clipboard--does anyone still use these?  3) Allow this to be optimal
for both A4 and letter.

As it stands, the solutions I can think of are: a) PDFs with small
text area that can work for anyone...suboptimal.  b) A mechanism for
user-generation of documents.  c) Generation at package install time
will necessitate unreasonably heavy Recommends.  d) If pagesize is
autodetected on buildd it will always be A4.


The more I think about it the more "b" appeals to me.  For example,
imagine if it used Calibre...  Each team provides a recipe, the user
chooses his/her format, and Calibre takes care of everything
else...and the export format of the cheatsheet could be for any
pagesize, layout, margins, gutters, etc., small screen phones, eBook
readers, future-affordable-large-format-eBook readers...anything

So maybe we could use write something to plug emacsen cheetsheats into
a Calibre "bookshelf" as a first cycle proposal?  If it's well
received, and isn't too much work, maybe someday it will be possible
to generate a reference manual for only the software a user has
installed on his/her workstation in his/her preferred format.

Why?  Because the Web is an unbounded threat to productivity.

What do you think?
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