[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

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: 20 Apr 2002 16:16:04 -0700

On Sat, 2002-04-20 at 14:26, Kyle Jones wrote:
> Michael Toomim writes:
>  > 
>  > 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 think there's been a miscommunication here.  I wasn't saying that
users can't understand the concept of a "document that hasn't been saved
yet".  That is silly.  I was just saying that the word "buffer" doesn't
mean anything to new users, and that by calling their documents
"buffers" they get confused.

Users already understand the *concept* of a buffer just fine.  The
problem is that they use the word "document" for it.

People have all sorts of meaning attached to the word "buffer".  A
buffer is:

1 : any of various devices or pieces of material for reducing shock or
damage due to contact
2 : a means or device used as a cushion against the shock of
fluctuations in business or financial activity
3 : something that serves as a protective barrier: as a : BUFFER STATE b
: a person who shields another especially from annoying routine matters
4 : a substance capable in solution of neutralizing both acids and bases
and thereby maintaining the original acidity or basicity of the
solution; also : a solution containing such a substance
5 : a temporary storage unit (as in a computer); especially : one that
accepts information at one rate and delivers it at another

Basically, it comes down to the problem that a buffer is a system-level
representation -- it is a description a C/lisp data structure.  People
think of these things as documents (just take a look at any mainstream
text editor), so it would help if they were called documents.

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]