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Re: Emacs setup assistants

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Emacs setup assistants
Date: 19 May 2004 08:43:47 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.3.50

Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen <address@hidden> writes:

> One project that's been on my mind (well, far back of my mind) for a
> few years has been to implement something that would make it easy to
> set up complex stuff by guiding the user through the process.
> This differs from Customize by being a guided tour through the
> options, not just a big whopping menu of stuff to twiddle.
> For instance, when setting Gnus up for reading news, an assistant
> would look around the environment for sensible news server defaults,
> present these to the user, ask for corrections, and at the end check
> whether the information given is sensible (ie., that the news server
> exists).  (That's a pretty trivial example; setting up spam handling
> or mail reading is much more complicated.  :-)
> My original plan was to use something HTML-like, and use w3, but Per
> Abraahmsen suggested using something more TeXinfo like, and I thought
> that was a really groovy idea, so here's an example assistant
> specification.

One thing that is important is that an assistant is readily
accessible, that there is an association between what you are doing
and the relevant assistant.

It would often help if one was able to find the documentation for a
mode.  I would suggest that we create a convention for specifying the
info manual to be used for features of each major and minor mode.
One could then call the mode-specific help to get at that
information.  If it included active customization entries like you
propose, so much the better.

Of course there is a problem: when we are calling the assistant for
minibuffer-mode, we do not just want an overview over all active
minor modes, but also over all prospective ones, like

So there must be a possibility when some mode gets installed to
specify "add this to the directory for minibuffer-mode".  It would
appear that one could probably graft this onto info modes by creating
a separate dir-file for each major mode or other referenceable entity
for an assistant.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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