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Re: Customize fringe

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: Customize fringe
Date: Thu, 09 May 2002 17:18:54 -0400

> > See my previous post yesterday or the day before on a separate thread
> > for why I don't think there should be a "toggle fringe" in the menu bar.
> This was it:
No this was not it.
It was:

Subject: Re: Enhancements to options menu (was Re: Reveal mode)
To: Thien-Thi Nguyen <address@hidden>
From: "Stefan Monnier" <monnier+gnu/address@hidden>
Date: Wed, 08 May 2002 09:37:08 -0400
Cc: "Stefan Monnier" <monnier+gnu/address@hidden>,
   address@hidden (Pavel Janík),
   address@hidden (Kim F. Storm), address@hidden, address@hidden

> "Stefan Monnier" <monnier+gnu/address@hidden> writes:
>    I'm not sure whether those users were novices, but even if they were,
>    that's not relevant.  My point is that fringes are good and if a
>    novice removes them because she thinks she doesn't need them, she'll
>    probably hit problems later on because of it.  We don't break Java's
>    memory safety just because some novice Java programmers might ask
>    "how do I do pointer arithmetic".
> hmmm, you make it sound like turning off fringes incurs some kind of
> threat to emacs' structural integrity or design, which would shock me if
> it were true.  [insert console-freak rantings here.]

Admittedly, I forced the tone.  But I just feel like users might miss
on the neat fringes just because they think they don't want them.
If you turn off the fringes you lose:
- legibility (chars stuck right next to a window border are more difficult
  to read; the fringes act like a margin).
- continuation glyphs (i.e. it's not the same as on console).
- neat icons instead of overlayed text for the gud&edebug overlay arrow.
- various future extensions like mouse bindings in the fringes.

I don't think the tradeoffs are obvious to the first-time user (even if he's
an experienced Emacs user) so she might make the wrong decision.  This
is to be contrasted to other "similar" things like the menu-bar, the
tool-bar, the scroll-bar where the user can be reasonably expected to know
what she loses by turning it off.

I'm not saying turning off the fringe should be a hidden feature.
Just that it shouldn't be in the user's face.


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