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Re: The minibuffer vs. Dialog Boxes (Re: Making XEmacs be more up-to-dat

From: Michael Toomim
Subject: Re: The minibuffer vs. Dialog Boxes (Re: Making XEmacs be more up-to-date)
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 12:33:09 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:0.9.9) Gecko/20020412 Debian/0.9.9-6

Miles Bader wrote:
"Eli Zaretskii" <address@hidden> writes:

As for buffers, I disagree that it's unused in the context used by
Emacs.  I've seen several editors that do the same.

And anyway, buffers are _not_ the same as `files' or `documents', and
indeed, the name quite accurately describes what it does (and
corresponds directly to the concept of a buffer you say you're used to
doing OS work).  Sometimes there's a one-to-one correspondence between
buffers and files, but quite often there's not.  Once a user learns
about this, he can use this advantage.

The term "buffer" means nothing to a new emacs user, even if they thoroughly understand the dictionary definition of it.

It would make much more sense to new users if they were just called files or documents, since that's what they are to newbies, and learning what a buffer is is a big hurdle one has to jump over when learning emacs.

Calling them documents or files wouldn't be that bad. If they don't exist on disk, the users can just think of them as "files that haven't been saved yet". Most text editors call these things "documents", and users tend to have no problem incorporating the the fact that they might not have been saved into their cognitive model of the system.

Then you have to deal with all the *other* buffers... (dired, help, info...) Maybe to do this right, one would have to come up with two entirely different names for these different types of buffers (sort of a terminology API built on top of buffers). But I think that the term "document" might apply ok to them as well in a user interface... I don't think that the slight strangeness would be too much of a problem. Of course, this is all just intuition.

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