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Re: Improved help from minibuffer prompts

From: Miles Bader
Subject: Re: Improved help from minibuffer prompts
Date: 14 Apr 2004 15:49:58 +0900

Stefan Reichör <address@hidden> writes:
> > It seems like a good idea to me; the main question I have is whether
> > having F1 (or C-h) act differently in the minibuffer is natural for most
> > users or not.  As the normal help-menu binding for those keys already
> > acts weirdly in the minibuffer -- it doesn't display the help prompt --
> > maybe that suggests that it's unusual to use them in the minibuffer.
> I have the following use for the C-h bindings from the minibuffer:
> C-h b to describe the bindings
> I think that binding should be still accessible.
> I think of two possibilities to get the command help explained by me:
> f1           ... preferred by me - easy accessible (f1 bindings are 
>                  still on the C-h map available)
> f1 <return>  ... One key more to type, F1 map is untouched

I think it would be bad to have F1 and C-h be sometimes the same and
sometimes different.  `F1 RET' also doesn't seem particularly intuitive,
and since the help menu isn't displayed in the minibuffer, might be hard
for people to remember.

Here's an idea:  Use the normal binding for `describe-function' (`C-h f',
or `F1 f') and either have it directly pop up the help for the currently
executing command (i.e., don't prompt for a function name as usual), or
else prompt as usual, but set the default value for the prompt to the
function currently executing command (so that you'd typically use `C-h f
RET' to get help in the situation you describe).  Since users will probably
be used to `C-h f' to get function help in other contexts, it should be
easier to remember in the minibuffer too.

`To alcohol!  The cause of, and solution to,
 all of life's problems' --Homer J. Simpson

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