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Re: Elisp manual: @section Mode Line Format is unclear

From: Andreas Schwab
Subject: Re: Elisp manual: @section Mode Line Format is unclear
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 01:24:11 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.110003 (No Gnus v0.3) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Alan Mackenzie <address@hidden> writes:

>        A mode-line construct may be as simple as a fixed string of text, but
>     it usually specifies how to use other variables to construct the text.
>     Many of these variables are themselves defined to have mode-line
>     constructs as their values.
> What the hello there is a "mode line construct"?  Why should I have to
> bother figuring this out?  (It's not explained anywhere on this page,
> despite there being a "@dfn{mode line construct}" - This @dfn is purely
> recursive, defining the term as something built up from mode line
> constructs.)

A mode-line construct is a recursive entity.  The precise list of forms
follows.  What is that if not a definition?

>        A mode-line construct may be a list, a symbol, or a string.  If the
>     value is a list, each element may be a list, a symbol, or a string.
> This is VERY patronising:  it says nothing more than "A mode-line
> construct is an Emacs lisp object".

Because it is, like a lisp object, a recursive entity.

> A bit lower down we've got A PASSIVE VOICE SENTENCE!!!!!!  An ugly,
> nasty, passive voice sentence:
>     `STRING'
>          A string as a mode-line construct is displayed verbatim in the
>          mode line except for "`%'-constructs".  Decimal digits after the
>          `%' specify the field width for space filling on the right (i.e.,
>          the data is left justified).  *Note %-Constructs::.
> This is beginning to give me some detail.  It's half-telling me _what_ I
> can do with a "mode-line construct" (but what the fuchsia is a "percent
> construct"?)

Care to follow the cross reference?

> FINALLY, we get to an example at the bottom.  Then I've got to go through
> the tedium of parsing this example into distint "mode-line constructs"
> (which still haven't been explained)

See above.

> "Specifiers", anybody?  ;-(

??? Where do you see "specifiers"?


Andreas Schwab, SuSE Labs, address@hidden
SuSE Linux Products GmbH, Maxfeldstraße 5, 90409 Nürnberg, Germany
PGP key fingerprint = 58CA 54C7 6D53 942B 1756  01D3 44D5 214B 8276 4ED5
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