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Re: Documentation for "Clone Buffers" (corrected version)

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Documentation for "Clone Buffers" (corrected version)
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 2004 10:05:32 +0000 (GMT)

[Re: My proposed patch to the Emacs manual, documenting the command

On Sat, 28 Feb 2004, Richard Stallman wrote:

[Alan Mackenzie:]
>    I disagree.  I find clone-buffer exceptionally useful, as it is the
>    only way I know of having two *info* buffers displaying different
>    info files at the same time.

>The recommended method is to create one, do M-x rename-uniquely, then
>switch to some other buffer and do M-x info again.  This works for all
>sorts of special facilities.

Ah, right!  :-)  That's anything but user-friendly, though.  It's also
difficult to work out from the documentation.  I couldn't find any hint
of this procedure in the Info info pages, which is the first place I
looked, a year or three ago.

Maybe having two or more *info* buffers at a time is need peculiar to me,
but I would've thought it a fairly common requirement.  At the very
least, if people are going to be writing fine manuals, they'll probably
be wanting texinfo.info open in front of them.  (I still need to refer to
this continually, even after having written a moderate amount of
documentation.)  They'll also be wanting to have open the current version
of the info file whose source they're modifying.  At least, I do.  Making
it awkward having two *info*s (or at least awkward discovering how to) is
surely a discouragement from writing documentation.

I think a(n easy) method of opening a second *info* buffer is a Good
Thing.  Perhaps M-n `clone-buffer' isn't the most elegant command around,
but it's got to be better than M-x rename-uniquely etc., from a user's
point of view.

Incidentally, there isn't an entry in the Emacs manual's command index
for `rename-uniquely'.  Is this deliberate or is it a bug?

I'm rather surprised at the preference for leaving an Emacs command like
`clone-buffers' _undocumented_.  Does this perhaps signal an intention to
remove this command from Emacs?  If so, why?

I think the documentation in this area could do with improvement, and I'm
prepared to do more work on it myself, given pointers to the direction
this should take.

Alan Mackenzie (Munich, Germany)

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