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Re: Icicles [was: shell command completion gone]


From: rusi
Subject: Re: Icicles [was: shell command completion gone]
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2011 21:10:55 -0800 (PST)
User-agent: G2/1.0

On Jan 12, 4:21 am, "Drew Adams" <address@hidden> wrote:
> For example, I do not set Icicles default values to the values that I
> myself use.  I set them to what I expect will be most useful for most
> people.
>
> You would (or perhaps would not) be surprised at the number of people
> who have different preferences and think that a default behavior
> should be changed.  Users sometimes do not think, like maintainers do,
> in terms of other users - they sometimes think that what is most
> natural and most useful is what _they_ happen to prefer.  As users we
> are probably all guilty of that.  So there is always someone who
> thinks that some default behavior is a bad choice.
>
> I aim to have the default settings provide a good combination overall
> for using Icicles.  Things are designed to fit together and take good
> advantage of what Icicles has to offer (synergy).  Think of this
> approach to defaults as being "what is best for using Icicles" - for
> most use cases.  That's the aim, anyway.
>
> That's not the same as throwing everything at you so you are forced to
> discover features by accident, as gotchas.  The latter might appear to
> be the case, but it is not.  I think a lot about the defaults, and I
> try to document things well, including how to turn things off and how
> to customize.

I of course appreciate that as the developer's/envisioner's view.
But just see what its like from that of a wannabe user (like but not
restricted to yours truly :-)
He has a stark 0 1 infinity choice:
0. No icicles
1. Use icicles with defaults as given
infinity. tweak and understand every available option

How could this be improved?
I'm putting together 2 ideas
1. Ive heard Alan Mackenzie use the word 'emacsicality' for a
collection of (semi)coherent customizations
2. viper mode has a zillion customizations collected into 5 'levels'

So the viper solution for icicles would be to have say 3-4 levels of
icicles ranging from plain vanilla emacs to expert.
But there is a less technological solution which will certainly be
easier on Drew but likely also on the typical emacs user:

Put up (on the wiki maybe) a bunch of customization-bundles
corresponding to common learning paths.
So the vanilla-user learning path would be as follows (One could
replace vanilla by ido and iswitch if desired; you get a few more
bundles)

bundle-0. All keys behave as in vanilla emacs; icicles functionality
available in a standard place such as a menu
bundle-1. A few key (sorry for the pun) concepts are understood and
their corresponding keys are bound; but ONLY those keys
bundle-2. More concepts and more keys
Stop at 3 or 4! [And thats not factorial!]

> Thanks for your kind words, Le and Prad.

I have taught programming for nearly 25 years and the most valuable
learning Ive got (which Ive unfortunately mostly wasted) is beginner
mistakes.  If I had a chance to go back I would collect the best
'mistakes'.

That is to say you need people like Le and Prad (and hopefully myself)
as control-points on the learning-bezier-curve.


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