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bug#2473: usability issues on emacs's describe-mode

From: Lennart Borgman
Subject: bug#2473: usability issues on emacs's describe-mode
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2009 12:31:29 +0100

On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 12:04 PM, Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> wrote:
>> I do see two ways to improve this:
> I see a 3rd way: make the buffer present an expandable list of modes,
> starting with just 2 items: the current major modes and "minor modes",
> e.g. similar to what we do in Speedbar, or maybe in Outline Mode
> (under "Hide Sublevels").  In ASCII art:
>  + Major Mode: RMAIL Mode
>  + Minor Modes
> Clicking on a plus near Major Mode would then expand to the text we
> currently show for that major mode, for example:
>  - Major Mode: RMAIL mode
>         Rmail Mode is used by M-x rmail for editing Rmail files.
>         All normal editing commands are turned off.
>         Instead, these commands are available:
>         .    Move point to front of this message.
>         /    Move point to bottom of this message.
>         SPC  Scroll to next screen of this message.
>         DEL  Scroll to previous screen of this message.
>         n    Move to Next non-deleted message.
>         p    Move to Previous non-deleted message.
>  + Minor Modes
> Clicking on "Minor Modes" would show only the list of modes with short
> descriptions:
>  - Minor Modes:
>    + Auto-Compression -- automatic file compression and uncompression.
>    + Blink-Cursor -- blink cursor in current window.
>    + Desktop-Save -- save Emacs session on exit.
>    + Display-Time -- display time, load average, and mail flag in modeline.
>    + File-Name-Shadow -- shadow ignored part of file name in minibuffer.
> etc., you get the picture.  (We could also have a tooltip on each line
> showing more info for that mode.)  Clicking on any of the plus signs
> near a minor mode would display the full documentation for that minor
> mode, the one we show today unconditionally.
> This way, the user will be able to expand only the modes she is
> interested in.  Using the short description, the user will be able to
> find out what is/are the modes she is interested in, if she doesn't
> know that in advance.
> For more functionality, we could add buttons and/or help-echo links to
> go to the manual where the mode is fully described.

A very good suggestion.

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