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Re: Emacs vs. TextMate (not trying to start an editor war)

From: Miles Bader
Subject: Re: Emacs vs. TextMate (not trying to start an editor war)
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 13:44:17 +0900

Cezar Halmagean <address@hidden> writes:
> This is what I keep hearing about Emacs, how it would take a complete
> rewrite to support that. Is that true ? Or what is the *thing* missing
> in Emacs that makes it so hard to make it a top web dev IDE/editor.

You can do anything you want, it's just a matter of code.... :-)

The problem, as I understand it, is that typical Emacs major modes use a
lot of buffer-local variables etc, and make various assumptions about
having "control" of the whole buffer.

Many Emacs primitive mechanisms actually _can_ be made to work on
sub-regions of the buffer (e.g., syntax tables, keymaps, etc., are
traditionally buffer-local, but can also be defined using
text-properties).  One could write a mode which is very careful to
respect such region boundaries, and uses region-local mechanisms instead
of buffer-local ones, but it would likely be a fair amount of work, and
mean you probably can't re-use existing code very easily.

What is really desirable, I think, is some way of transparently fooling
"whole buffer" modes into thinking they have control of a whole buffer,
when in fact, they just have control of part of one.  I think it's
probably possible to do this (perhaps using an extension of the indirect
buffer mechanism?) but afaik nobody has really looked at the problem


"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that
 you do it."  Mahatma Gandhi

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