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Re: [usability] mouse-1 for performing actions?

From: Simon Josefsson
Subject: Re: [usability] mouse-1 for performing actions?
Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 19:43:24 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.090007 (Oort Gnus v0.07) Emacs/21.2.50 (i686-pc-linux-gnu)

"Robert J. Chassell" <address@hidden> writes:

> Simon Josefsson <address@hidden> asked:
>    Why does emacs use mouse-2 for activating hyperlinks, buttons etc?
> Just now I clicked on a URL using my middle mouse button to activate
> the Galeon Web browser.  The site did not appear.  So I marked a
> portion of the URL, the site name, using the first mouse button, and
> copied that name so I could run ping.  I could not do that if mouse-1
> were to activate the browser.

Marking text is (by me, at least) usually done by down-mouse-1 at the
start point and up-mouse-1 at the end point.  This would still work
even if clicking on mouse-1 would activate the browser.

>     ... emacs is able to separate the two cases where mouse-1 is
>     simply clicked and when it is used to mark text.
> I do not understand:  I click mouse-1 to mark the beginning of a
> region, move the mouse cursor, and then click mouse-3 to mark the end
> of the region.  If the two commands are on the same button, and used
> in the same context, how can Emacs distinguish between a click to mark
> the beginning of a region and a click to follow a hyperlink?

I didn't know about this feature.  When I mark text, I do it by
holding mouse-1 down until I reached the end of the marked text.  Ok,
so it is difficult to change the behaviour in a backwards compatible

However, in some modes activating buttons is probably more common than
marking text in this way, would it make sense to have the
click-mouse1-to-activate-button in such buffers?

Btw, do ANY other application have this mouse1 + mouse3 mark text
feature?  I haven't seen it before.  IMHO dropping this feature in
favor of activating buttons and links with mouse-1 is more user
friendly (except for old time Emacs users) as it is consistent with
how other applications behave.

>     Proposal: Make mouse-1 do the same as mouse-2 in Info (section links),
> When telling people where to find documentation, I often copy Info
> links.  I write text such as, `go to File: emacs,  Node: Mouse Commands'
> Incidentally, you cannot copy Info links in a plain vanilla Emacs 21
> any more.  The new default makes the links be a part of Emacs that you
> cannot copy.  For me this is a mistake, and I always set the value of
> `Info-use-header-line' to nil so I can copy the links.  
> It looks to me that the proposal, if adopted, would be like this new
> default; it would make it harder to copy text, which is to say, the
> proposal would lead to more typing, when copying would be easier,
> quicker, and more accurate.

No -- you should still be able to mark text in a button by dragging
mouse-1 over the area you want to mark.

I agree that the Info header line should allow the user to mark text
in it.  It should be possible to mark text =everywhere= IMHO.

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