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Re: new apropos feature in Emacs-22

From: Luc Teirlinck
Subject: Re: new apropos feature in Emacs-22
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2005 16:10:34 -0600 (CST)

Drew Adams wrote:

   The default should be the traditional, regexp behavior, however.

I believe that the idea was to make apropos easier for inexperienced
users knowing little about regexps.  But the present functionality
still can easily confuse such users for very natural keywords like
*scratch*, .emacs or ses+.

   Now, I'll shut up, after one last request:

   Can we please have available some function(s) that will give the original,
   regexp-syntax-only behavior, so that we may individually get back to
   something reasonable? That is, can we have functions (not necessarily aimed
   at novices) that we can use to build commands that do what the apropos
   family did before?

I see as solutions, in order of preference:

1.  A proper syntactic convention that uses keyword search for some
    invalid regexp: unbalanced [, final \, whatever.

2.  A customizable option for all apropos commands, that specifies
    either keyword lists only, or regexps only, or, for people who do
    not mind about unreliable and potentially confusing heuristics,
    the present behavior.  To be friendly to people uncomfortable with
    regexps, keywords only could be the default.

If the present behavior is kept unchanged, then at least it should be
documented properly, with the potential pitfalls clearly pointed out,
both in the docstrings and the Emacs manual.



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