Here is a brief overview of the output formats currently supported by Texinfo.
makeinfo.) Info format is mostly a plain
text transliteration of the Texinfo source. It adds a few control
characters to provide navigational information for cross-references,
indices, and so on. The Emacs Info subsystem (see Info), and the standalone
info program (see GNU Info), among others, can read these files. See Info Files, and Creating and Installing Info Files.
makeinfo --plaintext.) This is almost the
same as Info output with the navigational control characters are
makeinfo --html.) HTML, standing for Hyper
Text Markup Language, has become the most commonly used language for
writing documents on the World Wide Web. Web browsers, such as
Mozilla, Lynx, and Emacs-W3, can render this language online. There
are many versions of HTML, both different standards and
makeinfo tries to use a subset
of the language that can be interpreted by any common browser,
intentionally not using many newer or less widely-supported tags.
Although the native output is thus rather plain, it can be customized
at various levels, if desired. For details of the HTML language and
much related information, see http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/.
See Generating HTML.
texi2dvi.) The DeVIce Independent binary
format is output by the TeX typesetting program
(http://tug.org). This is then read by a DVI ‘driver’, which
knows the actual device-specific commands that can be viewed or
printed, notably Dvips for translation to PostScript (see Dvips) and Xdvi for viewing on an X display
(http://sourceforge.net/projects/xdvi/). See Formatting and Printing Hardcopy.
(Be aware that the Texinfo language is very different from and much
stricter than TeX’s usual languages: plain TeX, LaTeX,
texi2dvi --ps.) PostScript is a page
description language that became widely used around 1985 and is still
used today. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PostScript gives a
basic description and more preferences. By default, Texinfo uses the
dvips program to convert TeX’s DVI output to PostScript.
texi2dvi --pdf or
format was developed by Adobe Systems for portable document
interchange, based on their previous PostScript language. It can
represent the exact appearance of a document, including fonts and
graphics, and supporting arbitrary scaling. It is intended to be
platform-independent and easily viewable, among other design goals;
http://tug.org/TUGboat/tb22-3/tb72beebe-pdf.pdf have some
background. By default, Texinfo uses the
pdftex program, an
extension of TeX, to output PDF; see
http://tug.org/applications/pdftex. See PDF Output.
makeinfo --docbook.) This is an XML-based
format developed some years ago, primarily for technical
documentation. It therefore bears some resemblance, in broad
outline, to Texinfo. See http://www.docbook.org. Various
converters from DocBook to Texinfo have also been developed;
see the Texinfo web pages.
makeinfo --xml.) XML is a generic syntax
specification usable for any sort of content (a reference is at
makeinfo XML output,
unlike all the other output formats, is a transliteration of the
Texinfo source rather than processed output. That is, it translates
the Texinfo markup commands into XML syntax, for further processing by
XML tools. The XML contains enough information to recreate the
original content, except for syntactic constructs such as Texinfo
macros and conditionals. The Texinfo source distribution includes a
utility script txixml2texi to do that backward transformation.
The details of the output syntax are defined in an XML DTD as usual, which is contained in a file texinfo.dtd included in the Texinfo source distribution and available via the Texinfo web pages. Texinfo XML files, and XML files in general, cannot be viewed in typical web browsers; they won’t follow the DTD reference and as a result will simply report a (misleading) syntax error.