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bug#11983: 24.1; Electric-command-loop broken?

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: bug#11983: 24.1; Electric-command-loop broken?
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2012 04:40:43 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.1.50 (gnu/linux)

> I am trying to understand Electric-command-loop in electric.el

I do not understand what it's trying to do, let alone how it's trying to
do it.
The best I could understand of what it's trying to do is summarized in
the commentary I added:

;; - electric modes and buffers: modes that typically pop-up in a modal kind of
;;   way a transient buffer that automatically disappears as soon as the user
;;   is done with it.

> (this is used by BBDB 3):

Could you maybe then describe the expected behavior, from the user's
point of view?  Adding docstrings, and/or improving comments would be
very welcome.

> - The code contains a hard-coded
>     (setq universal-argument-num-events 0)
>   Apparently this is never reset, so exiting Electric-command-loop
>   leaves behind this binding.

It's a global var used by `universal-argument'.
`universal-argument' is implemented in a rather intricate way, part of
which is actually hidden deep in the C code.

universal-argument-num-events is used for when you finish a C-u sequence
to find which keys are part of the universal argument and which keys are
part of the actual command you wan to run.

`universal-argument' should really use something like
set-temporary-overlay-map instead so it wouldn't need
universal-argument-other-key and neither would it have to fiddle with

> - The doc string says
>   ;; Given third argument non-nil, it
>   ;; INHIBITS quitting unless the user types C-g at toplevel.  This is
>   ;; so user can do things like C-u C-g and not get thrown out.
>   Yet it appears to me, that even for C-u C-g the user gets thrown out.

I have no idea what this "C-u C-g" refers to, indeed.


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