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Re: HTML HOWTOs and Re: CD edition

> On Apr 30, 11:03pm, David Lawyer wrote:
> > Subject: HTML HOWTOs and Re: CD edition
> >
> > What I think needs doing is generating single file html howtos.  These
> > would replace the existing tarred and gziped HTML files available for
> > downloading.  The HOWTOs for reading online would remain spilt to save
> > bandwidth for people who only read a small part of the HOWTO online.

On Thu, May 04, 2000 at 05:17:57PM -0400, Greg Ferguson wrote:
> These are now done/complete/ready-for-access. I've provided links
> on the LDP documents page: http://www.linuxdoc.org/docs.html#howto
> You can get to them from here:
> http://metalab.unc.edu/pub/Linux/docs/HOWTO/other-formats/html_single/
>    or for the mini-HOWTOs here:
> http://metalab.unc.edu/pub/Linux/docs/HOWTO/mini/other-formats/html_single/
> Note that a gzipped tar file is also created which is a package
> of all the single-file HTML docs.
> The question is "should the files themselves and/or the tar
> packages be mirrored...."?

With data compression used on most modems, tar doesn't save much
bandwidth anymore.  Since disk space is cheap, the major cost would be
the bandwidth costs for updating the mirror sites.  But people who
download HOWTOs from their local mirror site (instead of from Metalab)
would conserve bandwidth.  So I think it's a good idea.  Since
packages of all the HOWTOs come with various distributions of Linux I
think we should supply individual HOWTOs for downloading from the
mirror sites.  For those who don't know, we now don't supply any
HOWTOs for downloading from the mirror sites.  If we do this we would
be supplying single-file HTMLs from the mirrors.  

Should they be tarred?  If not, then they could be used for on-line
browsing and anyone who wanted a copy would use the browser to save
it.  But this wastes bandwidth for those that only read a small part
of one.  One solution is to have 2 ways to read on-line: HTML-split
(most efficient --what we do now) and HTML-single (can easily save it
with the browser).  To encourage efficiency, I would only say "read
HOWTOs online" for the split ones.

Another issue is that of small HOWTOs.  There isn't much point in
splitting a 10k HOWTO up into 10@ 1k chunks.  If someone reads even
half of this small split-HOWTO they probably use more bandwidth in
overhead than they save by transferring less text-data.  For this case
they are better off reading the single-HOWTO.  But how to easily
implement this?

One could also argue in favor of plain text which is what I use but
with possible future interlinking between HOWTOs, I would vote for

Since we have been giving people only the split html-howtos for
downloading, I guess it's OK to keep doing this.  But now we give them
a choice.  Most people who understand this option should take the
single html-HOWTOs since they are easier to search when using a
browser.  Also there are a lot fewer files to find with ls (or
locate).  Thus the distribution of the split ones should be of little
interest.  Except that the split ones are used for on-line reading to
conserve bandwidth and are sent to all mirror sites for this purpose.

>From the way it looks now in docs.html#howto most people might just
choose "HTML" and not understand what is meant by "single-file".  Thus
I think that the split ones need to be called "HTML - split" with the
"single-file" ones coming first.  There are probably a few sites that
have added useful material to the indexes that need the split ones
(although they could generate them from the .sgml files).  Eventually,
"HTML - single file" could be changed to just HTML since they would be
used much more than the split ones.
                        David Lawyer

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