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Re: Making Emacs more newbie friendly


From: PT
Subject: Re: Making Emacs more newbie friendly
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 15:52:33 +0100
User-agent: Opera M2/7.54 (Win32, build 3865)

On Sat, 19 Mar 2005 12:47:54 +0200, Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> wrote:

From: PT <address@hidden>
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 06:40:54 +0100

> C-h t

That's exactly what I meant. The key bindings shown in the tutorial are
leftovers from a world when there were no arrow keys on keyboards.

??? When was the last time you've read the tutorial?  The current
version does mention the arrow keys, and it also explains the reasons
why the tutorial teaches the alternate key bindings.

True. I haven't read it for a while, but now I have.

By arrow keys I also mean text selection with shift+arrow keys, etc. It is pretty standard in modern systems, so it should be turned on by default.

I may sound like a heretic, but I don't think a newbie should learn new
keybindings for cursor movement.

Newbies don't _have_ to learn them, but the tutorial explains why
Emacs developers _suggest_ that they do.

Okay, I admit I haven't read the tutorial for quite a while, so I take this one back.

VI is not a more usual editor. KEdit is. Notepad is.

If someone is happy with Notepad, they probably don't need Emacs.  And
btw, Notepad doesn't have _any_ key bindings besides the arrow keys,
CUA cut/paste ones (which Emacs supports), and F3 for FindNext.  So a
convert from Notepad should have no problem learning the Emacs
keybindings.

The newbies I met usually used a "visual" editor before. Like SlickEdit, Eclipse or Visual Studio. Compared to these editors Emacs is very strange the first time. I think the default behavior of emacs should be more similar to these editors to make the initial transition easier.

I'm not an emacs newbie anymore, so I don't really know what they don't like about Emacs. But they do have misgivings and most of them gives up after a few tries. Maybe if someone has a friend who has never used emacs he should ask him to give it a try, note down the complaints and share it with us.


You are probably a Unix veteran. They are familiar to anyone on Windows
for example and much more friendly than C-x C-f.

Please be specific; slogans are not useful when you are criticizing a
UI.

Okay, I try.

I think the most frequent features should be reachable with a single key binding or with a multikey binding which involves at most two keys.

For example, F2 which is a single-key binding controls two column mode if I'm not mistaken while save-buffer which is frequent operation is on C-x C-s. Dees it make sense from a newbie's point of view? Which feature will he use more frequently?

C-o would be nice for opening a file, but C-x C-f? Now that's a bit strange if I'm new to Emacs.

I know these are traditional bindings, but they are strange nevertheless. At least that's what the newbies tell me. ("Emacs? You have to know a lot of long key combinations to use it. Too complicated.")


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