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Re: Emacs: a 21st century text-editor

From: Mathias Dahl
Subject: Re: Emacs: a 21st century text-editor
Date: Wed, 09 Mar 2005 10:32:38 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/21.3.50 (windows-nt)

"Christopher G D Tipper" <address@hidden> writes:

> It just seems to be stuck in the 20th century with no sign of any
> attempt at modernisation.

Although I agree somewhat I think you are a bit unfair. Lately it has
got some nie-looking tool bar, the file dialog when accessed from the
menu bar is quite good (at least on Windows), etc.

> 1 Text-wrapping. Text wrapping is a limitation, and it would be nice
>   to scroll past the edge of the screen. This is particularly acute in
>   my case editing XSLT scripts where line-breaks become a
>   presentational issue. Sometimes I actually need to compose documents
>   with 250 columns, and I don't appreciate emacs telling me otherwise.

Have you tried Ctrl-PgDown and Ctrl-PgUp? Works quite well. I too miss
a horizontal scroll bar sometimes though.

> 2 Shell open. Emacs really ought to be able recognise when the shell
>   is requesting it to open a file. Gnu-client should be unnecessary in
>   a modern application.

I agree with this and I really do not understand why it should be that
hard to "feel" if an Emacs instance is allready running, and opening
the file in that. But I am no low-level programmer, so I would not
know about technical limitations here.

> 3 Tabbed buffers. Open buffers should be easily visible in a tabbed
>   layout below the menu, in the manner of XEmacs. A proper history
>   list would help here so that documents are persistent across
>   sessions.

Personally, that tab-bar would be so crowded that the tabs would not
do any good. I tend to have many files and buffers open, especially
since emacs is more than a text editor for me (reading news, mail,
todolists, calendar etc etc). Btw, have you tried out tabbar.el? I
don't like it, but you might.

Persistent files though sessions is solved in many ways (desktop.el is
built in in emacs).

> 4 File Dialogs. I use dlgopen.el on Windows, which gets rid of the
> most serious interface issue of all, the lack of modern file
> dialogs. It wouldn't be rocket-science to adapt the interface to
> support this. XEmacs file dialogs are unusable IMHO.

On Windows, File -> Open File... works for me. I like to open the
files using the minibuffer though.

> 5 Paste replaces edit. This idea that when I paste I end up with
> both the replacement text and the old text does not belong in the
> modern idiom. This is a real versioning issue when the replacement
> text scrolls past the bottom of the screen. I think this is just an
> old-fashioned feature that never got updated.

I used to like this. I used pc-selection-mode and
delete-selection-mode, which you will probably like, but nowadays I
have turned all that off. I do not even use transient-mark-mode. I
have got used to do C-SPC (set-mark-command), move the cursor to the
end of the region I want to operate on, and to C-w, M-w, delete-region
(which I have mapped to C-c d). And I like it. For deleting words or
lines, I use M-d, C-k etc.

Basically I see where you are coming from, but by being a bit flexible
and accepting some "old quirks" (which seems to be really thought
through when you get used to it), I like it the way it works. Just
because something is not familiar does not meen that it is bad.

IMHO, of course... :)


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