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Re: switch-to-buffer-other-frame fails to pop-up window

From: Mark T. Kennedy
Subject: Re: switch-to-buffer-other-frame fails to pop-up window
Date: Fri, 07 Dec 2007 11:39:14 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686 (x86_64); en-US; rv: Gecko/20071031 Thunderbird/ Mnenhy/

Drew Adams wrote:
>> interesting that you've weighed in.  i read a lot of your code
>> while converting my .emacs from v21 to v22.  you've certainly
>> confronted the buffer/window/frame style question in depth.
>> and i'm happily using many of your libraries.
> Not everyone agrees with my conclusions or preferences in this regard, of
> course. But I'm glad you find some of the code useful.
>> i'm not saying that use case isn't valid.  i'm saying there is a clash
>> between the word "other" in "switch-to-buffer-other-frame" and that use
>> case.  there is no "other" frame in the example martin gave and the use
>> case you prefer.  and i'm supporting my case by drawing an analogy to
>> the behavior of "c-x 4 b" where two windows are *always* involved.
> I understood. Yes, C-x 5 b behaves like C-x 4 b when the buffer is displayed
> in a single, split frame. C-x 5 b does not create a new frame in that case,
> so, yes, its meaning of "other frame" is not exactly analogous to C-x 4 b's
> notion of "other window".
>> you better than anyone should have a feel for the right thing to do.
>> from what i can tell from a pass through the emacsWiki, you're the
>> buffer/window/frame usage style guru.
> No, not at all. Perhaps, however, I complain more than some about Emacs's
> treatment of frames vs windows.
> There are others who also typically use frames instead of windows but do so
> in a different way than I. And they don't necessarily use non-nil
> `pop-up-frames'. Stefan Monnier is one who uses frames a bit differently - I
> think he more or less makes each window dedicated (automatically).
> Some people always use a separate frame for each buffer, not just the first
> time a buffer is displayed (as I do). That is, they never reuse a frame for
> a different buffer or split its window to show more than one buffer.
> Some people who prefer frames don't use a standalone minibuffer (I do).
> Some people (including me) want deletion of a buffer or window in a
> one-window frame to also delete the frame. Some prefer the frame to be
> iconified. Others prefer that a different buffer fill the frame.

i guess it boils down to whether you see frames and windows as
orthogonal or hierarchical concepts.  if you see them as orthogonal,
then you want "c-x 5 b" to always make sure there is a second frame.
if you see them has hierarchical, then you want to see nested "green"
behavior: first look for an existing second window, then for an
existing second frame, and only failing both, create a new frame.

> There are thus different use cases and preferences. It's unfortunate that
> Emacs doesn't, in general, play too well with frames, but that's the way it
> is, so far. I think we'll eventually get it to satisfy everyone out of the
> box (modulo Customize), but it might take some time. Martin R. has been
> trying to fix some of the problems with quitting View mode and Help mode,
> for instance. Some of the code is complex, and it's not always obvious how
> to satisfy everyone.

do you think it is worth while to catalog the styles of use?  as a prelude to
finding a way to better support them?

>> i tend to keep one file (buffer) per frame. i like to have help &
>> grep & apropos and similar things pop up and down within the frame
>> from which they were invoked. but i like "info" and "*Messages*"
>> to be in separate, dedicated frames.
> You might want to handle those preference differences using special-display
> for some buffers. I do something similar for *Completions* and *Help* (in
> library oneonone.el).
>> i also find it convenient to have more than one top-level "info" frame.
> I just clone the current Info buffer whenever I want another copy of Info:
> `M-x clone-buffer'.

i found that when i hunted through the source.  i call:

(defun my-info (node)
  (let ((info-buffer (get-buffer "*info*")))
    (if info-buffer
          (set-buffer info-buffer)
          (let ((new-info-buffer (clone-buffer nil t)))
            (switch-to-buffer-other-frame new-info-buffer)
            (info node new-info-buffer)))
      (info node))))

from a bash shell function called "info" via emacsclient in order to
get that behavior.  seems to work right.

>> what got me started down this entire path was an attempt at providing
>> per-frame help buffers.  i was annoyed when an existing help window
>> in frame X changed to the help response i generated when i invoked help
>> in frame Y.  i tried to take over 'help-buffer' from help-mode.el in order
>> to hide a per-frame help buffer name in a frame property.  but i
>> found that '(selected-frame)' returned the minibuffer frame when
>> 'help-buffer' was invoked rather than the frame from which
>> "help" was invoked (i sent in a separate
>> bug report for that but haven't heard anything about it yet).
> You don't want *Help* in its own frame; you want it to always open in the
> current frame. Is that right? That's what happens by default, if
> `pop-up-frames' is nil, no?
> emacs -Q
> C-x d ~
> C-x 5 2
> C-x b *scratch*
> C-h f forward-char ; opens *Help* in the same frame as *scratch*
> click mouse-1 on the frame with Dired, to select it
> C-h f backward-char ; opens *Help* in the same frame as ~ (Dired)
> I see *Help* in each frame. Of course, it has the same content (description
> of backward-char), since it's the same buffer.
> It sounds like maybe that's what you are annoyed by: that the buffer is the
> same in the different help windows. To get around that, I think you will
> need to do a little juggling - perhaps rename *Help* temporarily at one
> point or the other (automatically or manually). There is no built-in notion
> of per-frame help buffers. IIUC, this is not really a problem about frames
> or windows: your request seems to involve having multiple help buffers, not
> a single *Help*.

right - i want a separate help buffer per frame without having to
rename it by hand.  i tried to do that by hooking help-mode.el's
"help-buffer" function (which computes the appropriate help buffer
name) but i could not get it to discover the containing frame object.

by the time 'help-buffer' was called, the magic minibuffer
implementation arranged for the magic minibuffer frame (not a
dedicated minibuffer frame like the one you use but probably a magic
one to allow sharing of the minibuffer across different real buffer
frames) to be the 'selected-frame'.

you can see this by doing "M-: (selected-frame)' after a fresh "emacs
-Q" and then repeating after popping up a second frame.  once you've
popped up a second frame, '(selected-frame)' under "M-:" always
returns the magic minibuffer frame (which i think is a bug).


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