[Top][All Lists]

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

Suggestion : Changing The Default Message

From: Steve
Subject: Suggestion : Changing The Default Message
Date: Sat, 06 Jul 2002 09:10:30 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.0.0) Gecko/20020529


A coworker and I recently introduced a brite intern in our office to emacs ( GNU Emacs 21.1.1 (i386-suse-linux, X toolkit, Xaw3d scroll bars) of 2002-05-14 on D185 ).

We noted with interest that the intern had many of the same problems getting started with emacs.....in shell mode ( emacs -nw ) that we and our friends had when we got started with emacs long ago.

Anyway, I came up with two ideas that can make emacs tremendously more friendly for beginners. Both require very little work, but can make a large positive difference for first time users.

The first is to have info start up directly into the emacs manual or have the home info node have a link for the emacs manual on top,prominently displayed, with a seperater underneath, and a heading under that telling the user that the other links are for technologies that are not part of emacs. People new to the *nix world will not know this and will get confused when going into info ( in emacs *shell* mode, the gui version offers a choice to directly to the manual ). Even seasoned tech people can get confused by not seeing emacs topics right away. I have seen such people assume they made a mistake. The home info node makes you scroll a while before you find a link for the emacs manual.

The other idea is to edit the boot-up message that emacs in the shell mode uses. Adding instructions on how to go directly to the emacs manual would help. The emacs manual is the best resource I have ever found for learning emacs, but a newbie has to find it first. Adding some blank lines and white space to the boot-up message will make some very important information stand out more. I think this will give emacs in the shell a friendlier first impression and increase the frequency with which new users will notice the good information already there.

For example, right now the boot up message in shell mode reads:

Get help           C-x h
Undo changes       C-x u
Exit Emacs         C-x C-c
Get a tutorial     M-x help-with-tutorial
Use Info to read docs   M-x info
Ordering manuals   M-x view-order-manuals
Activate menubar   F10  or  ESC `  or   M-`
(`C-' means use the CTRL key.  `M-' means use the Meta (or Alt) key.
If you have no Meta key, you may instead type ESC followed by the character.)

I propose:

HELP                        C-x h
TUTORIAL                    M-x help-with-tutorial
MANUAL                      ( command to take you directly there )

ACTIVATE MENUBAR            F10  or  ESC `  or   M-`

UNDO CHANGES                C-x u
EXIT EMACS                  C-x C-c

`C-'                        means use the CTRL key
`M-'                        means use the Meta, ALT, or ESC key

Ordering manuals            M-x view-order-manuals

( blank line followed by the rest of the message )

Take these suggestion for what they are worth.

BTW, after helping the intern we all decided to try the GUI version of Emacs 21.1. We are all love it and are very impressed.


reply via email to

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