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RE: theming

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: theming
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2005 10:36:10 -0700

    Much as I like the idea of prepackaged distributions for normal,
    non-developer users, the problem I see with many "big" Emacs projects
    (like TinyTools, CEDET, JDEE, etc) is that they are much of an
    all-or-nothing. You install one of them, you are no longer in Emacs,
    but someone's pet idea of what Emacs should look like (yeah, even if
    they have a ton or two of customization options). Nothing bat per se,
    but I already have my pet Emacs and we've learnt to live with each
    other, thanks ;-)

    Being themeable is necessary. Being non-monolithic is fundamental

I agree 100%. This is something that would really, really help Emacs - well
after the release.

I'm guilty, myself, of having come up with such monolithic customization
packages (with and without using "Custom"). I try to update those libraries
now (when I have time), so that the result is less monolithic and plays
better with, for instance, Custom.

(One problem is, I think, that there is a natural evolution from a set of
individual .emacs settings toward a library that others can use flexibly.
I've mentioned this before. A set of guidelines for moving from the one to
the other would help.)

Anyway, I think that a general mechanism for themes that also promotes
modularity (vs monoliths) would be a great thing to have. The current Custom
facility is essentially geared toward the individual user (it updates his
custom-file), whereas what we're talking about here are packages that
customize a lot of things at once for any set of users.

And people are right to point out that "the solution" should speak not only
to Customization stuff (variables & faces), but to key bindings too. And it
might need to provide for loading and unloading redefinitions of standard
functions, as well as dealing with advice flexibly.

I don't think the task would be easy to come up with a good, general set of
theming constructs that would let people write modular, non-monolithic
custom versions of Emacs. But it would be great if it existed.

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