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bug#31656: 26.1; `fill-paragraph' malformats in emacs-lisp-mode


From: Stefan Guath
Subject: bug#31656: 26.1; `fill-paragraph' malformats in emacs-lisp-mode
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2018 12:36:00 +0200

The very idea of shadowing the global `fill-column' in the first place breaks the Principle Of Least Astonishment and introduces annoyance and extra work for the user when trying to understand why the explicit setting of `fill-column' is not respected. If it is to be done anyway, it needs to be well motivated and also executed in a correct way.

So, I guess my basic question is what value `emacs-lisp-docstring-fill-column' tries to add? It's obviously not aiming to introduce a general shadowing for elisp files only, since that mechanism is already present due to `fill-column' being buffer local. Rather, according to its docs, it tries to add selective shadowing for elisp-files in doc strings only. Fair enough, that is an edge case where a shadowing mechanism could be motivated. But instead it implements some kind of unpredictable shadowing - I don't even understand in what exact circumstances the shadowing takes place. If we were to just update its docs, what should it be updated to?

To me this entire functionality should either be removed or fixed so that its behavior reflects its current docs. In its current state it just malformats elisp files in unexpected ways. Or am I missing something?


On Fri, Jun 1, 2018 at 11:39 AM Noam Postavsky <address@hidden> wrote:
Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

>> From: Stefan Guath <address@hidden>
>> Date: Wed, 30 May 2018 14:50:01 +0200
>>
>> `emacs-lisp-docstring-fill-column' shadows `fill-column' in too many cases in emacs-lisp-mode. The
>> documentation of `emacs-lisp-docstring-fill-column' states: "Value of ‘fill-column’ to use when filling a
>> docstring". But it incorrectly seems to be used in a lot more cases than just in a docstring (the only case that
>> I've found where ‘fill-column’ is actually respected is within comments). A work-around is to set
>> `emacs-lisp-docstring-fill-column' to nil, but it would be nice to have it working properly instead.
>>
>> I might be missing something, but think the incorrect behavior is to be found in `lisp-fill-paragraph' that is
>> invoked by `fill-paragraph' through `fill-paragraph-function'. It seems like `lisp-fill-paragraph' unconditionally
>> sets `fill-column' to `emacs-lisp-docstring-fill-column' without checking whether point is within a doc string
>> first. The only requirements for enable shadowing currently seems to be "(and (integerp
>> emacs-lisp-docstring-fill-column) (derived-mode-p 'emacs-lisp-mode))", which doesn't seems sufficient.
>
> AFAICT, this behavior was in Emacs since about forever (since 1995, t
> be precise).  So maybe we just need to adjust the doc string to
> reflect the reality?
>
> Or are there real-life use cases where this behavior is grossly
> inappropriate?

I don't think it makes sense to apply normal plain text filling rules to
code.  Maybe it doesn't come up much because people don't usually call
M-q on code, and usually lines of code are kept short enough that they
wouldn't get filled anyway.  But picking a random example from rgrep
^.\{100,\}$ on the Emacs code base:

(defun feedmail-default-date-generator (maybe-file)
  "Default function for generating Date: header contents."
  (feedmail-say-debug ">in-> feedmail-default-date-generator")
  (when maybe-file
    (feedmail-say-debug (concat "4 cre " (feedmail-rfc822-date (nth 4 (file-attributes maybe-file)))))
    (feedmail-say-debug (concat "5 mod " (feedmail-rfc822-date (nth 5 (file-attributes maybe-file)))))
    (feedmail-say-debug (concat "6 sta " (feedmail-rfc822-date (nth 6 (file-attributes maybe-file))))))
  (let ((date-time))
    (if (and (not feedmail-queue-use-send-time-for-date) maybe-file)
        (setq date-time (nth 5 (file-attributes maybe-file))))
    (feedmail-rfc822-date date-time))
  )

Running M-q on every line turns it into this nonsense:

(defun feedmail-default-date-generator (maybe-file)
  "Default function for generating Date: header contents."
  (feedmail-say-debug ">in-> feedmail-default-date-generator")
  (when maybe-file
    (feedmail-say-debug (concat "4
    cre " (feedmail-rfc822-date (nth 4 (file-attributes
    maybe-file)))))
    (feedmail-say-debug (concat "5
    mod " (feedmail-rfc822-date (nth 5 (file-attributes
    maybe-file)))))
    (feedmail-say-debug (concat "6
    sta " (feedmail-rfc822-date (nth 6 (file-attributes
    maybe-file))))))
  (let ((date-time))
    (if (and (not feedmail-queue-use-send-time-for-date)
    maybe-file)
        (setq date-time (nth 5 (file-attributes maybe-file))))
    (feedmail-rfc822-date date-time)) )

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