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

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: The minibuffer vs. Dialog Boxes (Re: Making XEmacs be more up-to-date)
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2002 09:38:06 +0300 (IDT)

On Sun, 21 Apr 2002, Terje Bless wrote:

> I get by with C-x C-f, C-x C-s, C-s, and C-x C-c. I manage the occasional
> foray into Customize and instructions that say "put this in your .emacs".
> And the stuff in the Options menu makes my life ever so much easier.
> But a lot of the time I'm hindered by the fact that Emacs insists on me
> adapting to it, instead of it adapting to me. It "DWIMs" fairly well in
> some situations, but a lot less well in others. And writing lisp code is
> considered an acceptable way to interact with Emacs for normal users!

A list of specific problems you have, in those situations where Emacs 
doesn't DWIM, would be nice.  It's hard to fix problems that are unnamed.

> But the real point of all this isn't any specific feature or implementation
> detail. The main point I'd like to make is that, again in my opinion, the
> single most important factor in making Emacs more accessible to more people
> is to start giving more weight to these issues (and, yes, as a consequence
> less weigth to other issues; it's a tradeoff when resources are limited).

I think this is already done.  That's why specific details are important: 
the tendency to make Emacs more usable is already there, but I have no 
doubt that more work is needed to actually make that happen.

> The perfect feature needs no documentation because it's intuitively obvious
> how it works.

This is only true for very simple features.  Powerful and flexible 
features are normally complicated enough to require some documentation, 
without which they are less useful than they could have been.

> But there is also a
> possibility that Emacs just isn't the tool for me. Perhaps it's too
> advanced a tool for my simple use and I should stay with less powerfull,
> but also more easy to understand tools. That's a valid point of view. I'd
> like to see Emacs cater to me also

That's what the menus and the tooltips are supposed to accomplish, I think.

> and I firmly believe it can do that
> without compromising away the power it has that more advanced users need.

I don't believe this is possible.  Simplicity and power do contradict to 
some degree.  I agree with the general tendency to not trade power for 
simplicity, but in practice, beyond a certain level, power comes at the 
expense of simplicity.  That's why other editors praised for their 
simplicity are much less powerful than Emacs.

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