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RE: Key descriptions in *Help* are too wide

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Key descriptions in *Help* are too wide
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 17:36:14 -0700

    >     We could do the same as the print of long Lisp values ...  showing
    >     only some bindings followed by ... -- and make it
    >     clickable with the mouse to show the whole thing.

    (setq truncate-lines t) does pretty much just that except that
    it uses the fringe marker rather than "...".

    > That sounds OK too.  Or provide a horizontal scroll bar.  Users should
    > have some way of seeing all the values, without changing the width.

    They don't need to change the width.  Just scroll horizontally: it works
    even tho we don't have scrollbars.  If you have a right fringe
    you can click on the continuation arrow displayed (just like you'd
    click on the "...").

Sorry, I made a mistake in saying that truncation would be OK. As I say, I
automatically resize one-window frames to fit their buffer text. Truncation
is a display property; it is not a property of the buffer text.

For this bug to be fixed, for me, the buffer text needs to have standard
length lines. Either leave off some of the values or fill and show all
values, but please don't leave the line long, whether displayed as truncated
or not. I would like to see all *Help* buffer lines be 70 chars or less.

If we cannot have the "..." button before the release, then let's just use
"..." without a button. That would be 100% OK. Users can always use `C-h w'
to get the full list.


However, FWIW, I do also have an opinion about fringe: We should never make
users *rely* on fringe for some functionality. That is, fringe should always
be only an additional or alternative way to obtain some information; it
should never be the _only_ way. We should not assume that fringe is

A "..." button or a horizontal scroll bar has this advantage over fringe: it
does not require lots of real estate all the time. A "..." button is used
only locally, and it takes no additional space (beyond the buffer size,
since it can be on the next line). A horizontal scroll bar can be made to
appear only when there is in fact a long line. Fringe, on the other hand,
is, like the menu bar and the tool bar, an absolute addition to the required
real estate.

I, and I think many others, turn the fringe off for that reason - and
because it is noisy/busy/distracting. I never need it, and I hope to never
need it in the future. If we start using fringe as the sole vehicle for some
functionality, making that feature available _only_ through the fringe, then
we effectively impose use of the fringe. That would be like making some
command available only via the menu bar, effectively imposing use of the
menu bar.

For someone who does display the fringe all the time, it does probably seem
like a logical place to put various information. The idea is, since there's
already this blank space there, taking up room, we might as well use it for
this and that. My point is that it is incorrect to assume that the fringe is
already there. My request is that fringe never be used as the _only_ way of
displaying some information. Let it be a "plus", for those who like it, but
don't make users rely upon it to get some functionality.

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