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RE: Key bindings proposal

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: RE: Key bindings proposal
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2010 19:54:53 +0900

Uday S Reddy writes:

 > If you already had keyboard accelerators of menus in 2001, well, thank
 > you very much for it!  But, it still requires extra RET key strokes to
 > confirm selections.

I'm not sure what extra RET key strokes you're talking about.  In
XEmacs, you hold down the appropriate modifier with a menubar
accelerator key.  This pulls down that menu.  Then you navigate to the
desired item by pressing the appropriate item accelerators, which take
effect immediately, either popping a submenu or running a command.  Of
course if it's something like find-file which takes a string input,
you'll need to terminate the string with RET.  But other than key
order, it's no different from the ordinary keymap[1] (except for being
a lot slower for me :-).

Maybe you're just using the wrong Emacs for your purposes. :-)

 > Coming back to the students, the vast majority of them switched to
 > IDEs by the time they reached their final year.  So, while we had done
 > our bit by introducing them to Emacs, Emacs wasn't able to retain them
 > due to its limitations.  In this sense, the previous thread was right
 > in focusing on the IDE support.

I don't understand "in this sense."  As Bill Clinton didn't say, "It's
the apps, stupid."  IDE is *really* important to Java programmers as I
understand it because of restrictions of the language.  WYSIWYG and
multimedia content is really important to non-programmers.  Emacs
provides neither very well, and CEDET, while very nice, is unlikely to
ever catch up to Eclipse.  Multimedia is pretty much hopeless for the
forseeable future, too.

 > The user base is still needed to motivate contributors to find it
 > worthwhile to come forward.  Mozilla and Eclipse have armies of
 > contributors, not because they have great manuals but because they
 > have large user bases.

That's the "post hoc" fallacy.  IMO, Eclipse has armies of
contributors because programming in Java sucks, and Eclipse is the
best available way to make it suck less (certified by Big Blue, no
less).  And Mozillla?  Yes, when you have hundreds of millions of
users, even an 0.00001% annual user-to-developer conversion rate is
enough to produce plenty of cannon fodder.  But there's no way Emacs
can compete with Mozilla in terms of sheer numbers of users, unless it
becomes a browser.  And I don't see that happening.

 > >  > And, Emacs has to fit in.
 > > 
 > > Why?
 > Because, otherwise, you raise the barrier to entry so high that only a
 > small minority of potential users will be able to get through.

If it's the minority of users who will become contributors, that's a
big win. :-)

[1]  There is a known XEmacs weirdness that the use of the modifier is
restricted to the initial pulldown menu.  Items and submenus *must* be
selected with an *unmodified* key.  This is stupid, of course. ;-)
Maybe that's the problem you're thinking of?

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