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bug#21391: 24.5; `thing-at-point' should return a string

From: Tino Calancha
Subject: bug#21391: 24.5; `thing-at-point' should return a string
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2016 19:07:15 +0900 (JST)
User-agent: Alpine 2.20 (DEB 67 2015-01-07)

On Thu, 10 Nov 2016, Dmitry Gutov wrote:

On 10.11.2016 21:59, Eli Zaretskii wrote:

Because currently they can call thing-at-point without defining
foo-at-point.  AFAIU, you suggest to deny them this possibility, and
force them to define foo-at-point for every foo.

They'll really have to do that only for string-unrepresentable foos.

Like currently (thing-at-point 'symbol) returns a string, whereas (symbol-at-point) returns an interned symbol. That's nothing new.
Indeed, this sounds the right usage for me, and for an user who has read the part of the manual refering to `thing-at-point'.

If i want the list object i call `list-at-point', and if i just want the
text representation i would call (thing-at-point 'list).

The fact that we have that duality in the code, i.e.

I) (thing-at-point 'foo)
II) (foo-at-point)

in some sense is asking for I) and II) returning two different things.
I find it easier if I) always return a string.
Note also that we don't need to define one version II) per each THING: just in the few cases where it has sense to return the THING with a different type than a string. We already have defined all II) functions
in `thingatpt.el'.

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