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

From: Kyle Jones
Subject: Re: The minibuffer vs. Dialog Boxes (Re: Making XEmacs be more up-to-date)
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 14:26:41 -0700

Michael Toomim writes:
 > 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.

It's a hurdle that one has to jump with any editor in which you
edit a copy of a file and commit changes only by "saving" them.
If people have trouble with this concept then this is just one of
those things they will have to learn because editing a buffer is
in fact what is happening.  If you don't understand the buffer
concept then you'll wonder why your edits don't take effect in
the filesystem as soon as you type them.  Is their anyone using
computers today who doesn't understand the concept of an edit
buffer, even if they don't know the term "buffer"?  If not, then
it's just a matter of them learning a new word.  People who won't
learn a new word display a breaktaking intellectual bankruptcy
that's far beyond our ability to change.

I know the pain of which you speak.  Recently I've started learning
how to use the Gimp and a lot of the terms (or the way the terms are
used) are new to me.  But that isn't surprising because I don't do
digital image processing for a living.  I don't expect the Gimp's
authors to change their terminology to suit me, an ignoramus.  What
I want is that whatever terms they use be used consistently within
the application so that time spent learning the terms isn't wasted.

That's the goal we should strive for.  We should use terminology
that's familiar to normal practitioners of the art and we should
use it consistently.  This does not mean saying "lepidoptera"
instead of "butterfly", this means saying "butterfly" instead of

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