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RE: Entering filenames with spaces

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Entering filenames with spaces
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2005 08:15:19 -0700

    David> IIRC, people seemed to agree and some said that they wouldn't
    David> use minibuffer- complete-word anyways - especially for
    David> filenames it seems to be clear that minibuffer-complete-word
    David> makes no sense.  Inputting a space in a file name, however, is
    David> a pretty common thing to do nowadays.

    I hope a setting will be left to allow either option.  I almost never
    have to hit C-q<SPACE> to enter a space in a filename, but regularly
    use the spacebar to complete filenames.  Of course those not used to
    working mostly at shell prompts, and therefore more used to useing
    spaces in filenames will obviously have different habits....

I agree: This should be an option. On the other hand, David has a good

Completion should, other things being equal, be done by keys that are not
normally printable or self-insertable. Using TAB for completion is good,
because TAB in Emacs is generally not just self-insert - it's bound to a
command to indent properly.

But SPACE is present in filenames, and it could also be present in other
minibuffer input strings (completing-read etc. could be called by any
function, to complete any string). The arguments that I see for making this
optional (that is, not getting rid of space completion altogether) are 1)
habit and 2) SPACE is a very convenient key to hit. #2 is important, IMO.

For those who want to use something besides SPC for word completion, a good
candidate is a left-hand key that is normally a prefix key, and that doesn't
have much use in the minibuffer - a key such as C-SPC or C-z (C-x could
still be useful in the minibuffer in C-x C-x, and perhaps C-c should still
be reserved for users).

FWIW - In my own library (http://www.emacswiki.org/cgi-bin/wiki/icicles.el),
I do this:

- Provide an option for the key sequence to use for word completion.
- Use SPC as the default value of that option (same behavior as usual).
- Bind C-SPC to a trivial command that does the same thing as `C-q SPC'.

This gives you the convenience of using the spacebar for word completion, a
more convenient way to insert a space (`C-SPC' is almost as convenient as
`SPC'), and lets you change things easily if you like.

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