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Re: [O] [RFC] Org Minor Mode?

From: Thorsten Jolitz
Subject: Re: [O] [RFC] Org Minor Mode?
Date: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 12:25:32 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

Samuel Wales <address@hidden> writes:

Hi Samuel, 

> another option is to create annotation mechanisms that are so
> compelling that you don't need org in non-org files.
> your lists and tasks would stay in your org agenda files, but your
> external files would be able to show (via overlays) and link to the
> annotations in org.  in turn, your annotations in org would be able to
> send you to the spot in your extenal files that they refer to.
> we have a ton of annotation mechanisms in emacs and org, but they can
> perhaps be made more compelling in this way.

I think there probably do exist quite a lot of individual customized
systems to connect Org planning files to associated source code files,
and this is definitely a viable use pattern. 

But I think a simpler more direct approach is possible - simply an
outline-minor-mode on steroids (=> org-minor-mode). If I structure my
source file with headlines like an org file, do visibility-cycling,
structure editing etc. like in Org-mode - why not add TODO's and
priorities and tags and properties to my headlines? The functionality to
do that is already there in Org-mode, and the syntax-elements used would
be exactly the same. Except the comment-syntax involved ...

> On 4/11/14, Richard Lawrence <address@hidden> wrote:
>> Hi Thorsten,
>> Bastien <address@hidden> writes:
>>> Nicolas Goaziou <address@hidden> writes:
>>>> Thorsten Jolitz <address@hidden> writes:
>>>>> What do you think - is there any chance that Org-mode switches from
>>>>> static hardcoded regexp strings (all over the place) to dynamic
>>>>> regexps calculated at runtime (using libraries like drx.el or rx.el)?
>>>> I hope not. The syntax should stabilize, not drift away.
>>> Agreed.  Maybe there are some hardcoded regexps that we can factor
>>> out, but dynamically building those fundamental regexp is a deadend.
>> I agree with what Nicolas and Bastien have said, but I wanted to say
>> that I think there is an interesting idea in Thorsten's post that
>> shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.
>> Org provides a set of UI concepts (tree-like structure, visibility
>> cycling, tree filtering, task state tracking, building an agenda from
>> multiple sources, ...)  that map nicely onto a lot of other situations,
>> and would be really handy to have access to even when the syntax of the
>> underlying file is incompatible with Org's syntax.
>> There are two ways to think about Org syntax, which I think should be
>> distinguished here.  One is as the grammar of a .org file: basically, a
>> set of rules that allow a sequence of characters to be parsed into an
>> AST.  The other way to think about Org syntax is the way Lisp
>> programmers sometimes talk about syntax: as the AST itself, the
>> collection of Lisp data types and their interrelationships that define a
>> valid Org document.
>> If Org were to evolve to the point where the UI concepts were
>> implemented purely as transformations on an AST -- on Org syntax in the
>> second sense -- then the way would be clear for making those concepts
>> available in editing modes where the grammar of the underlying file is
>> incompatible with Org syntax in the first sense.  A programming mode
>> could, say, parse comments into an Org AST, then expose that AST to the
>> functions implementing Org's UI concepts.  Et voila: you get visibility
>> cycling, task state tracking, agendas...in your source code comments.
>> One sort of use case where I think this idea could really shine is in
>> dealing with email.  Obviously, the grammar of the underlying mail files
>> (say, in a Maildir) will never be compatible with Org syntax in the
>> first sense.  But Org handles so many of the concepts that apply to
>> email (threading messages into hierarchies, visibility cycling, tagging,
>> sorting by date or priority, thinking of messages as tasks to be dealt
>> with, dealing with attachments) in such a nice way that I find myself
>> sorely missing Org whenever I read mail in a client that doesn't
>> implement them as nicely -- which is all of them.  If it were possible
>> to build a parser for message files that transformed them into an Org
>> AST, the mail client of my dreams would be in reach.
>> I have no idea if evolving Org in this direction is feasible or even
>> really desireable.  It may be that the two notions of Org syntax are
>> tightly coupled in principle, so that the idea of producing an Org AST
>> from an alternative underlying file format will never make sense.  But I
>> think that would be surprising.
>> This evolution would clearly require more work than just abstracting out
>> the regular expressions that implement much of Org's syntax in the first
>> sense, and I think Bastien and Nicolas are right that we don't want
>> either notion of Org syntax to become less stable.  Still, I think
>> there's a lot of interesting possibilities we could explore if Org's
>> implementations of the two notions of syntax were to become less tightly
>> coupled.
>> Best,
>> Richard


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