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RE: Start value in minibuffer

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Start value in minibuffer
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 18:35:00 -0800

Another thing about preselecting an initial value in the minibuffer -

Although I provide that in my library as an option, I turn it off by
default. This is because I find that much of the time I want to edit that
value only slightly. If the entire value is preselected, then you must first
explicitly do something to deactivate the region. Otherwise (in PC-selection
mode or delete-selection mode), the entire value is deleted (e.g. replaced)
when you edit it.

For my own use, I prefer to leave the preselection option off, but I have a
handy key binding to empty the minibuffer (because I also use the default
value as an initial value).

I think a user's preference wrt treatment of initial minibuffer input has a
lot to do with whether or not most of the default or initial values are
useful with slight modification. If so, then it makes sense (to me) to use
an initial value, without preselection. If not, then leaving the default
value to be pulled in on demand makes sense, as does using an initial value
with preselection.

Different users will prefer different behaviors. Each approach has something
to be recommended. And, in the case where each approach is not optimal, it
still lets you get what you need with at most one keystroke:

1. `M-n' to pull in the default, in straight Emacs - because
   it's not there to begin with.

2. `C-SPC' to deselect a preselected init value in PC-selection
   mode or delete-selection mode - because you want to edit it

3. some keystroke (e.g. M-S-backspace) to erase the minibuffer
   (in the mode I use: init value without preselection) - when I
   don't want the value at all.

That is:

#1 makes you go through an extra step to get the default value.

#2 makes you go through an extra step to deactivate the selection.

#3 makes you go through an extra step to get rid of the value.

#1 and #2 are optimal when you don't want to edit the default value (just
take it or leave it).  #3 is optimal when you do want to edit it.

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