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Manweb Reference Documentation(0)				Manweb Reference Documentation(0)

NAME
       manweb - browse netpbm (and other) documentation

SYNOPSIS
       manweb -help

       manweb [-config=configfile] [topic [ subtopic ... ] ]

EXAMPLES
       manweb
       This gets a master index of documentation.
       manweb netpbm
       This  gets the main documentation page for the Netpbm package, with hyperlinks to the rest
       of the documentation.
       manweb netpbm pngtopam
       This goes directly to the documentation page for the Pngtopam program in the Netpbm  pack-
       age.
       manweb pngtopam
       This  also  goes directly to the documentation page for the Pngtopam program in the Netpbm
       package, if that's what would run in response to a pngtopam shell command (your PATH envi-
       ronment variable is involved).
       manweb 3 fopen
       This gets the traditional man page for the fopen() subroutine using man.
       manweb cp
       This gets the GNU Info manual for the cp program, using info.

DESCRIPTION
       manweb displays reference documentation via quick shell commands.  It is a replacement for
       the well-known man.

Differences Between Man and Manweb
       manweb's advantages over man are:

       o

		     You can access documentation that is on the worldwide web instead of
		     having locally installed copies.  This saves installation work and gets
		     you more current documentation.

       o

		     Documentation can be in HTML, which is more widely known, more widely
		     useful, and more expressive than the nroff/troff format used by
		     man.

       o

		     manweb puts your topics in a tree for multilevel documentation.
		     man is intended for a single level of documentation.  For
		     example, you can have a man page for each shell command, but not for
		     the subcommands of a shell command.  And you cannot properly have
		     man pages for the members of multiple subroutine libraries.

       o

		     Documentation can be hyperlinked.

       Web servers need not be involved -- the documentation can be  in  local	files.	 Graphics
       need not be involved -- the lynx browser works fine in the same kind of terminals in which
       man works.

       manweb finds the documentation you specify and calls a web browser of your choice to  dis-
       play  it.   The	documentation  manweb finds can be either an HTML file on your system, in
       which case, manweb gives a file: URL to your browser, or an explicit URL.   That  explicit
       URL might be an http: URL referring to an HTML file on a web server somewhere, or anything
       else your browser understands.

       If manweb finds neither an HTML file nor a URL, but your parameters look like  they  could
       mean  something	to  man,  manweb  calls  man.  Therefore, you can use a single command to
       access the vast body of traditional man pages, plus any newer manweb  documentation.   You
       can make "man" a shell alias of "manweb".

       manweb  finds  Info  documentation as well.  It looks for the topic you specify as an Info
       topic after looking for HTML and URL documentation and  before  running	man.   If  manweb
       finds  a corresponding Info topic, it runs the program info on it.  Info is the documenta-
       tion system that the GNU project invented to, among other things, replace traditional Unix
       man  pages.   However, HTML and the Worldwide Web were invented shortly afterward, so Info
       fizzled.  But there is still a lot of GNU software that is documented as Info topics.

   How Manweb Finds Documentation
       manweb passes a URL to a web browser.  This  section  tells  how  your  manweb  invocation
       parameters turn into that URL.

       manweb's  search  starts in the "web directory" directory.  That's either the value of the
       webdir keyword in your manweb configuration file, or the default /usr/man/web.

       Your invocation parameters form a "topic chain."  Going from  left  to  right,  the  first
       parameter is the main topic, the 2nd is a subtopic of the main topic, and so on.

       Let's  look  at	the  simple case where you specify exactly one parameter -- a main topic.
       We'll call it maintopic and look at 4 ways manweb might find it:

       o

	      If manweb finds a file named maintopic.html
		     in the web directory, the URL manweb passes to the
		     browser is just a file: URL that specifies that .html
		     file.

       o

	      If there's no .html file, but there is a file named
		     maintopic.url, the contents of the first line of
		     that .url file is what manweb passes to the browser.  It
		     doesn't interpret the contents at all.  If it's garbage, the
		     browser chokes on it.

       o

	      If there's neither a .html nor a .url file, but there is a
		     directory named maintopic, manweb looks in the
		     directory for a file named index.html.  If there is one,
		     manweb passes a file: URL specifying that
		     index.html file to the browser.  If there's no
		     index.html, manweb uses a file: URL that
		     specifies the directory itself.

       o

	      If manweb doesn't find documentation in any of the
		     above ways, it searches your executable search path (as defined
		     by your PATH environment variable) for a program named
		     maintopic.  If it finds one, it looks in the directory
		     that contains the program for a file named doc.url.  If
		     it finds one, it appends maintopic.html to the
		     first line of the file and passes that to the browser.  Unless
		     the first line does not end with a slash -- in that
		     case, manweb passes the first line of the file unmodified
		     to the browser.

       It gets a little more interesting when you have subtopics.  Looking at each of the 4 cases
       above:

       o

		     Where maintopic.html exists, subtopics are invalid.
		     You get a warning message and the subtopics are ignored.

       o

		     Where there's no .html file but maintopic.url exists,
		     manweb appends the subtopic chain to the URL it gets from the
		     .url file as in the following example:  .url file contains
		     http://acme.com/productxyz/ and subtopics are
		     create and
		     database.	The URL manweb passes to the browser is
		     http://acme.com/productxyz/create/database.html.

	      manweb doesn't check that this kind of appendage makes
		     any sense for the URL in question, except that if the URL in the
		     .url file doesn't end with a slash (/), manweb
		     issues a warning and doesn't append anything (ignores the subtopics).

       o

		     Where there's neither a .html file nor a .url file, but there's a
		     maintopic directory, manweb recurses into that
		     directory and begins a whole new search using the first subtopic
		     as the main topic and the rest of the subtopics as subtopics of that.

       o

		     When there are subtopics, the PATH thing doesn't make sense,
		     so manweb doesn't do it.

	      If you give subtopics, the PATH thing described above for one topic doesn't apply.

       If  you	give no parameters at all, manweb generates a URL for the web directory itself as
       described above for subdirectories.

       The above is simplified by the assumption of a single web directory.  In reality, the web-
       dir  keyword  in  the  configuration  file can specify a chain of web directories.  manweb
       searches each one in turn, doing all the kinds of searches in each  web	directory  before
       moving on to the next one.

   The Configuration File
       The  default  location  of the manweb configuration file is /etc/manweb.conf.  But you can
       override this with the environment variable MANWEB_CONF_FILE, and override that	with  the
       -config invocation option.

       Lines starting with "#" are comments and are ignored, as are blank lines.

       All other lines have the format keyword=value.  The keywords defined are:

       webdir

		     A colon-delimited sequence of directories to search for
		     documentation as described above.	If you
		     don't specify this, the default is /usr/man/web alone.

       browser

		     The file specification manweb of the web browser manweb
		     is to invoke
		     to display documentation (except when it uses man to display
		     a conventional man page).
		     If the file specification does not include a slash, manweb
		     searches for the file in the PATH search path.

	      If you don't specify this, the default is the value of the
		     BROWSER environment variable, and if that is not set,
		     lynx.

	      Example:
	      # Configuration file for Manweb

	      webdir=/usr/share/manweb
	      browser=netscape

netpbm documentation						Manweb Reference Documentation(0)
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