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dired Mark menu commands

From: Drew Adams
Subject: dired Mark menu commands
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 15:56:30 -0800

Some minor suggestions regarding Dired's Mark menu:

1. The command `dired-mark-extension' (`*.'), defined in dired-x.el, is
useful to mark all files with a certain extension. Most people have never
heard of it, however. More than once, I've mentioned it in reply to
questions on help-gnu-emacs, and have gotten replies like "I've used Emacs
for years and never knew that existed."

Why not add this command to the Mark menu? It could be called "Mark

2. All of the "Mark"* menu items and commands except `dired-mark-extension'
use the prefix arg to unmark (instead of to mark). `dired-mark-extension'
uses the prefix arg as a (decimal) character code for the mark to use. So,
to unmark all files with extension "el", you would do this: `C-u 32 *. el',
because decimal 32 is the code for SPACE. Using a prefix arg this way is not
very intuitive.

I think it would make more sense for `dired-mark-extension' to use the
prefix arg for unmarkp, as the other commands do. Those few dired-x
functions that currently call `dired-mark-extension' with a marker-char
argument could call a different function, which does what
`dired-mark-extension' does today. IOW, the common, end-user command would
use the prefix arg to unmark, and the more complex functionality could still
be made available separately. Also, the more complex functionality might
better use the interaction of `dired-unmark-all-files': _read_ the mark to
use (as a character, not a number).

3. Why not add `dired-mark-symlinks' (`*@') to the Mark menu? It could be
called "Mark Symlinks".

4. Why not add `dired-unmark-all-files' (`M-DEL') to the Mark menu? It could
be called something like "Unmark Marked-With...".

5. Why not group the Unmark menu items together (Unmark, Unmark All, and
perhaps Unmark Marked-With...)? Why not use a menu separator between the
Mark, Unmark, and Flag groups of commands?

Adding commands like these to menu-bar menus helps users become aware of
them, as Robert C. pointed out recently. After users see that there is a
command "Mark Extenstion..." and it is bound to `*.', they are likely to
start using the keyboard shortcut.

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