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RE: My emacs was upgraded and I am a novice again

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: My emacs was upgraded and I am a novice again
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 07:47:01 -0700

> > > >  M-x icicle-doc RET mail S-SPC mode line
> > > >
> > > > shows all doc strings that match both `mail' and `mode line',
> > > > in any order, as completion candidates.
> > >
> > > So does "M-x apropos", which is part of Emacs.
> >
> > Not at all the same (`apropos' does not even use completion, of
> > any kind). Likewise all the other vanilla Emacs `apropos-*'
> > commands. Read the rest of the behavior I described (no need to
> > repeat it). If you still don't understand the difference, read
> > the doc I pointed to. There is no relation here to what you get
> > in vanilla Emacs.
> I thought we were talking about searching the doc, not about
> completion.

My statement that you replied to talked about completion. Even if you forget
about completion, `apropos' will _not_ show you all doc strings that match
both `mail' and `mode line', in any order. Neither will
`apropos-documentation' nor any other Emacs `apropos-*' command.

I mentioned a particular search interface that uses matching of doc strings
as completion candidates and lets you access the doc of any number of
candidates on the fly. You said that `apropros' does the same thing. It does
not, starting with the completion. But even disregarding completion, it does
not do the same thing; it simply does not give you the same

> If completion makes a big difference, how about adding
> this feature to Emacs?

I tried, as you might remember.

It's not just "completion" as it is known in vanilla Emacs; it's a set of
features related to completion. Icicles exploits input completion, using it
as a way to dynamically define and manipulate sets (that match your input).
Emacs does that in a limited way; Icicles pushes the limits in this regard.

> > Had vanilla Emacs been able to do what I described (or equivalent, with
> > equivalent ease), I would have pointed to vanilla Emacs.
> IMO, we ridicule ourselves if we send users to unbundled packages for
> documentation commands, especially when the user, like the OP, wants
> to locate a feature that is part of the official package.  Emacs is a
> self-documenting program, so every useful feature related to
> documentation should be an integral part of it.

I didn't ridicule anyone, including myself. I'm pretty sure that Icicles
users regard the features that Icicles offers to easily
examine/search/explore vanilla Emacs help as some of the Icicles features
they use the most. There is no contradiction. Icicles helps you use Emacs -
including using Emacs help. No need for anyone to feel ridiculous. Enjoy.

Vanilla Emacs help is very good; no question about it. That does not mean
that it is always easy to find everything, or that improvements cannot be
made. Icicles helps you use Emacs help. I gave one example; many more are
described in the doc. Here is an overview:

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