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Re: [Orgmode] [ANN] List improvement v.2

From: Scot Becker
Subject: Re: [Orgmode] [ANN] List improvement v.2
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 13:51:24 +0100

Nicolas and list friends

This sounds great.  And it seems you've made it easy to try by putting in in git.  Since my git usage consists almost exclusively of pulling from the org-mode repository, and I've never dealt with testing branches, would one of you be so kind as to feed me the commands necessary to try this out in the  easiest way possible.  I keep current on the org 'master' repo.

Should I pull a separate repo, or make a branch on the one I have?  Assuming I find no reason to undo the changes, and assuming they are merged into the core after some weeks, and assuming that I want keep current on the main org repository, will I need to do anything if and when these changes get added to the core if I'm already testing them on the branch?  I'm sure all of this is blissfully easy (git seems so clever), but I'd be glad to have someone explain how to do it in the easiest way.


On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 10:08 PM, Nicolas Goaziou <address@hidden> wrote:

Here is a new, and probably final feature-wise, suggestion of list
improvement in Org Mode.

Table of Contents
1 What is it about again ?
2 Is that all ?
   2.1 Preserving blank lines
   2.2 Timer lists
   2.3 Automatic rules
   2.4 `org-apply-on-list'
3 Where can it be tried ?

1 What is it about again ?

 I redefined lists in Org Mode. Lists start, as before, at a bullet
 (whose true regexp is at `org-item-beginning-re'), and end at either
 `org-list-end-regexp', a new headline, or, obviously, end of buffer.

 `org-list-end-regexp' is customizable and defaults to 2 blank lines,
 but `org-empty-line-terminates-plain-lists' has precedence over it.
 Moreover, any `org-list-end-regexp' found in special blocks does not
 end list. Here are two examples of valid lists:

 Case 1: `org-list-end-regexp' is at default value

 - First item

   - Sub item

     Two blank lines below

     Two blank lines above

   - Last sub item

 List has ended at the beginning of this line.

 Case 2: `org-list-end-regexp' is "^[ \t]*___[ \t]*\n"

 - item 1
 - item 2
   - sub-item
   - sub-item 2
 - item 3
 List has ended at the beginning of this line.

 Now, Org Mode knows when a list has ended and how to indent line
 accordingly. In other words, you can `org-return-indent' three times
 to exit a list and be at the right column to go on with the text.

 This new definition is also understood by exporters (LaTeX, DocBook,
 HTML or ASCII) and `org-list-end-regexp' will appear in source as a
 blank line, whatever its value is (as long as it starts with a caret
 and ends with a newline character, as specified in doc-string).

 Another advantage is that you can have two lists of different types
 in a row like in the example below:

 - item
 - item

 1. item
 2. item

 In this example, you can move (or cycle, or indent) items in the
 second list without worrying about changing the first one.

2 Is that all ?

 Yes and no. I tried as much as possible to keep compatibility with
 previous implementation. But, as I was at it, I made a number of
 minor improvements I am now going to describe.

2.1 Preserving blank lines

  `org-move-item-up' and `org-move-item-down' will not eat blank
  lines anymore. You can move an item up and down and stay assured
  list will keep its integrity.

  The same is true for `org-sort-list' that would previously collapse
  the list being sorted. Sorting is now safe.

  `org-insert-item', when 'plain-list-item is set to 'auto in
  `org-blank-before-new-entry' (the default, I think), will work hard
  to guess the appropriate number of blank lines to insert before the
  item to come. The function is also much more predictable (in
  previous version, trying to insert an item with point on a blank
  line between 2 items would create a new headline).

2.2 Timer lists

  There are three improvements in timer lists (C-c C-x -).

  1. When a new item is created, it should be properly indented and
     not sticked to column 0 anymore,

  2. When an item is inserted in a pre-existing timer list, it will
     take profit of what has been done to `org-insert-item',

  3. `org-sort-list' can now sort timer lists with the t and T

  /Note/: in order to preserve lists integrity, Org Mode will send an
  error if you try to insert a timer list inside a list of another

2.3 Automatic rules

  I've added sets of rules (applied by default) that can improve
  lists experience. You can deactivate them individually by
  customizing `org-list-automatic-rules'.

  Bullet rule: Some may have noticed that you couldn't obtain *
                   as a bullet when cycling a list at column 0 or Org
                   would have taken them for headings.

                   I extended the idea. Now, * bullet will be changed
                   to - if you outdent it to column 0. This and the
                   fact that LaTeX exporter now recognizes such lists
                   as valid make *-lists very usable.

                   In the same register, cycling items of a
                   description list will not offer 1. or 1), as
                   ordered and description lists are incompatible.

  Checkbox rule: It replaces `org-provide-checkbox-statistics'
                     which has become obsolete.

  Indent rule: This set prevents user from breaking his list by
                   inadvertence, when indenting or outdenting items
                   and sub-trees. Only moves that keep list integrity
                   are allowed.

                   The main advantage of it is when you insert a new
                   item and immediately press one or more TAB,
                   positions offered will all be meaningful. Quick
                   and efficient.

                   As a special case, moving the top item of the list
                   will move the whole list with it.

  Insert rule: As a consequence of the new definition of lists,
                   items cannot be inserted inside a special block in
                   the middle of a list. With this rule activated,
                   item will be insert right before that special
                   block. If not, Org will only throw an error.

  Renumber rule: It replaces `org-auto-renumber-ordered-lists'
                     which has become obsolete.

  I think those rules make a sane default behavior (except for the
  indent rule, perhaps). And they are easy to disable if one think
  they get too much in the way.

2.4 `org-apply-on-list'

  It's not much, but I added that small function, inspired from
  `apply-of-rectangle', that might be of some use. It basically
  applies a function passed as argument to each item of the list
  (with a possible return value for functional usage).

  As an illustration, here is a small function that walks through a
  list (and its sublists, if any), checking every item with a blank
  checkbox whose body is matched by REGEXP. It returns the number of
  items checked.

 (defun my-check-o-matic (regexp)
   ;; Function we are going to apply.
   (let ((search-and-check
          (lambda (count)
            (let* ((body-end (save-excursion (org-end-of-item-text-before-children)))
                   ;; Take care of any sublist first
                   (count (if (not (org-item-has-children-p))
                            (goto-char body-end)
                            (org-apply-on-list search-and-check count))))
              ;; Tests and checking if the formers are successful
              (if (and (save-excursion (re-search-forward regexp body-end t))
                       (equal (match-string 1) "[ ]"))
                  (progn (org-toggle-checkbox) (1+ count))
     ;; Call of `org-apply-on-list': notice initial value of counter
     (format "%d items checked"(org-apply-on-list search-and-check 0))))

3 Where can it be tried ?

 The source is at:

address@hidden:ngz/org-mode-lists.git   branch: end-lists

 It is merged very frequently with git head, and I keep a clone of
 Org Mode master branch at the same place. So, you can switch from
 end-lists to master without too much hassle. It is very stable
 anyway, so you do not need to be an adventurous type.

 Feedback, suggestions and comments are welcome.


-- Nicolas

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