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bug#8492: 23.3; Time to use a different binding for completion?

From: Reuben Thomas
Subject: bug#8492: 23.3; Time to use a different binding for completion?
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 19:28:08 +0100

On 20 April 2011 16:49, Drew Adams <address@hidden> wrote:
>> Currently, the "usable default" is ESC TAB.
>> It's a bit longwinded, so it'd be good to find a better solution.
> It's not very longwinded.

It's two keystrokes rather than a two-key chord for a function which
users these days expect to use frequently.

> It was used by many perfectly capable and fast
> programmers, including the one who wrote Emacs practically
> overnight) and gcc.

I'd be interested to know whether that's actually true, or whether
they simply didn't use it.

> ;-)  Likewise `C-M-i' - not very longwinded, and long available
> for this.

Takes two hands.

> And anyway it doesn't really matter all that much how longwinded a _default_
> binding is.

It does. If the letter 'e' were bound by default to "ESC C-M x 5 a" I
wouldn't use Emacs.

The point is that there are features that are relatively new which
users now expect. Syntax coloring is another which went from optional
(largely for performance reasons, IIRC) to on-by-default, but of
course it doesn't really need keybindings.

> So your logic is that simply because you cannot find an available key you want
> to complicate the behavior of the command so that it acts, in effect, as
> multiple commands depending on the context.

That may work: we already have plenty of context-dependent keystrokes,
which are often called "electric". Tab is, as even you've noted,
already overloaded.

Having said that, no key binding is better than a clever key binding.
Some uses of completion perhaps don't need a key (as for example many
uses of code completion, which in other IDEs pop up a list of
completions by default).


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