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Re: Customize buttons that change user's custom fileshouldaskforconfirma

From: Luc Teirlinck
Subject: Re: Customize buttons that change user's custom fileshouldaskforconfirmation
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 08:12:46 -0600 (CST)

Kim Storm wrote:

   IMHO, this is _expert_ behaviour.

   I think that most novice users will very rarely mix and match setting
   some options and saving others.

Rarely, but sometimes.  Why confuse them badly if they do?  Moreover,
it is not just setting and saving.  It is also about looking at
possibilities and saving.  Especially with the more complex "Value Menu"

   If he is satisfied with the current settings, he will save them ALL.

But the problem is exactly that he may _not_ be satisfied with all the
current "settings" (widget values).  He may just have wanted to set
them, or even more likely, just has been looking at them.

   If accidentally, he saves some option which he forgot he had only set
   and really didn't want to set, he can EASILY revert the change, either
   in the same emacs run or next time he runs emacs.

Why force users to go to that trouble if it can easily be avoided?
Moreover, if you save options that you do not want, you do
not even know which one you saved.  The user will have to scan his
custom-set-variables or custom-set-faces forms.  We are supposedly
talking about a novice user.

   Why don't we simply introduce a "customize-expert" option that is off
   by default, but can be turned on when the user gains more experience.

I believe that we should introduce a "customize-expert" option, off by
default, and only enable the all whole buffer buttons if it is on.
Personally, I would not turn it on.  I do not come even remotely close
to being enough of a Custom expert to be able to handle the complexity
of whole button buffers.  I always am careful to set custom-file to a
junk file when I play with them.  (I never use them "for real".  Much
too dangerous.)

   When off, it can limit the features of the customize interface to 
   those features most novice users will be familiar to from other

Custom _is_ not exactly like other interfaces and _can_ not be.  Other
interfaces are not trying to handle an underlying customization system
that is anywhere as complex and extensive as Emacs'.  The average
Custom buffer is a lot longer and contains a lot more options than the
average customization "page" (or whatever they call it).  The choices
you have for an individual option can be a lot more complex.  Complex
types like `choice' force a concept of a `widget' value.  Very
importantly, other interfaces do not have to deal with the tremendous
complexity of options that can be changed by _both_ the user and programs.

What makes the whole button buttons dangerous are, among others, the
concept of a separate widget value, the difference between Set and
Save, bugs in Custom, the length of Custom buffers, options changed
by programs behind the user's back, and user absent-mindedness.  We
are never going to be able to do something about the latter, even if
we do something about everything else, which would be highly
non-trivial and would involve removing present features, which people
actually use.

The concept of saving options one by one is not a difficult concept,
whether the user is used to it or not.  One should not equate "novice"
with "stupid".



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