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Re: info

From: Luc Teirlinck
Subject: Re: info
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 13:57:27 -0600 (CST)

Eli Zaretskii wrote:

   That's not good: RET also follows a cross-reference near point, not only 
   menu items.  So it must first find out what is ``the thing'' near point 
   that it should follow, and then do it.

You are right here.  I forgot about xrefs and the like.  I retract my
original suggestion.

However, you seem to vastly underestimate the differences between
stand-alone behavior and Emacs behavior.

   I'm not sure I like it: what RET does currently in Info is similar to 
   many other programs which support links or references of some kind: if 
   there's no link anywhere in sight, they do nothing, no questions asked.
   Users generally know that if RET didn't have any effect, point is not on 
   a link.  What you suggest deviates significantly from that behavior, and 
   I seriously wonder whether the downsides of the deviation are justified 
   by whatever gains you think we'll have.

That may be what RETURN does in stand-alone info.  In the Emacs version
however, RETURN currently always tries to do something, whether there
is something obvious to do or not.  The consequences can be extremely

   I don't remember all the intricacies of this, but I do remember that it 
   is not always easy to decide what menu item to select.

But, that is exactly the problem.  The Emacs version makes decisions
in cases where trying to make a decision is hopeless, resulting in
wild and unpredictable behavior.  I hope newbies learn about the `l'
key fast, or they are not going to have fun with RETURN.

   IMHO we should not change what RET does if it cannot find any link

What you seem to be saying is that it should not be changed from its
stand-alone behavior.  That means a radical change for the Emacs

   I like the behavior of the stand-alone Info better than what Emacs
   does now and better than what you propose.  (But then I'm not
   objective about this: I worked on these aspects of the stand-alone

I guess we all like it better than what Emacs does now.  Also, of
course you do not like what I proposed, even I do not like it anymore.
The only concrete proposal I made was silly, I completely overlooked
something.  (Sorry about that.)

Changing Emacs behavior to the stand-alone behavior you describe would
be acceptable to me.  It would also be helpful to users using both if
they were made more compatible.  Note however, that in as far as the
Emacs version is concerned, that constitutes a change.

A possible alternative would be to make RETURN do the same thing as
mouse-2 if mouse-2 does something (includes xrefs), otherwise the same
as m RETURN if that does something (by default), otherwise nothing.
If there is an obvious choice, that chooses it.  Whenever there is no
obvious choice, only users familiar with the way m chooses defaults in
the given situation would be tempted to use it anyway.  Again however,
the stand-alone behavior you describe sounds perfectly acceptable.

One last example of actual behavior in the Emacs version.  Do:
C-h i m emacs m killing.  We see:

* Menu:

* Deletion::            Commands for deleting small amounts of text
                          blank areas.
* Killing by Lines::    How to kill entire lines of text at one time.
* Other Kill Commands:: Commands to kill large regions of text and
                          syntactic units such as words and sentences.

Place point on syntactic, in the last line of the quote.  Which node do
you expect to go to if you press RETURN and which one do you actually
go to (in the Emacs version).

I believe the present Emacs situation definitely needs a change.



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