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Re: Key bindings proposal

From: Uday S Reddy
Subject: Re: Key bindings proposal
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2010 12:16:32 +0100

address@hidden writes:

> I dont understand this. I normaly have menus disabled, but I enabled
> them now to see. In the File menu I have an entry like:
>   "Visit new file... C-x C-f"
> Isn't that a "keyboard accelerator"? 

No, that is what I have been calling a "key binding".

The "keyboard acceleration" (Stephen's term) is what you get by
menu-bar-open.  (Sorry, I didn't realize that it was bound to <F10>.
I had disabled <F10> for some reason.)

So, "<F10> f v" gets you to find file, and you don't need to remember
C-x C-f.  There, "f" is for "File" and "v" is for "Visit...".

The problem I am pointing out is that using the first letter of the
menu titles/entries is kind of a "poor man's keyboard acceleration".
It breaks whenever there are other titles and entries beginning with
the same letter.  Then the user has to repeat the key stroke to get to
the right entry and hit RET to confirm a selection.

Lennart's menu accelerators, which are standard on Windows
applications, provide designated key strokes as the access points for
each menu title and entry.  In the Firefox file menu, for instance,
you will find:

N underlined in       New Window  C+N
T underlined in       New Tab     C+T

The developers chose different keys as the access points for these two
menu items so that there is no conflict between.  If Gnu Emacs were to
do the same menu, there would be conflict.

I made a mistake in my previous response to Stephen, it seems.  XEmacs
does provide menu accelerators and it probably did it since 2001.  So,
the infrastructure has been there.  However, the menus don't seem to
have been designed all that carefully to avoid conflicts.  (I got
fooled because the examples that I tried all had conflicts.)

When menus are designed carefully to avoid conflict, keyboard
accelerators become competitive with key bindings.  Then one doesn't
need to remember key bindings any more.  That can make a BIG


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