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

From: Robert J. Chassell
Subject: Re: The minibuffer vs. Dialog Boxes (Re: Making XEmacs be more up-to-date)
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2002 17:08:16 +0000 (UTC)

   ... "buffer" to "document" or "file"  ...

Please be careful about language.

Sometimes a buffer is an unsaved document; sometimes it is a saved
document.  There is a big difference.  And sometimes a document is
not online at all, but is printed.

And ..., right now, in another buffer, I am looking at a picture,
I would not call a picture a document, although a picture may be
within a document, but not always.  In this case, the picture is not
within a document.

How about extracting idea from this in your definition of `buffer'?
Thexe excerpts come from Info, File: eintr, Node: Buffer Names

       A file and a buffer are two different entities.  A file is
    information recorded permanently in the computer (unless you
    delete it).  A buffer, on the other hand, is information inside of
    Emacs that will vanish at the end of the editing session (or when
    you kill the buffer).  Usually, a buffer contains information that
    you have copied from a file; we say the buffer is "visiting" that
    file.  This copy is what you work on and modify.  Changes to the
    buffer do not change the file, until you save the buffer.  When
    you save the buffer, the buffer is copied to the file and is thus
    saved permanently.


       In spite of the distinction between files and buffers, you will
    often find that people refer to a file when they mean a buffer and
    vice-versa.  Indeed, most people say, "I am editing a file,"
    rather than saying, "I am editing a buffer which I will soon save
    to a file."  It is almost always clear from context what people
    mean.  When dealing with computer programs, however, it is
    important to keep the distinction in mind, since the computer is
    not as smart as a person.

       The word `buffer', by the way, comes from the meaning of the
    word as a cushion that deadens the force of a collision.  In early
    computers, a buffer cushioned the interaction between files and
    the computer's central processing unit.  The drums or tapes that
    held a file and the central processing unit were pieces of
    equipment that were very different from each other, working at
    their own speeds, in spurts.  The buffer made it possible for them
    to work together effectively.  Eventually, the buffer grew from
    being an intermediary, a temporary holding place, to being the
    place where work is done.  This transformation is rather like that
    of a small seaport that grew into a great city: once it was merely
    the place where cargo was warehoused temporarily before being
    loaded onto ships; then it became a business and cultural center
    in its own right.

       Not all buffers are associated with files.  For example, when
    you start an Emacs session by typing the command `emacs' alone,
    without naming any files, Emacs will start with the `*scratch*'
    buffer on the screen.  This buffer is not visiting any file.
    Similarly, a `*Help*' buffer is not associated with any file.

    Robert J. Chassell                  address@hidden
    Rattlesnake Enterprises             http://www.rattlesnake.com

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