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Re: Visual cleanup for customize buffers

From: Luc Teirlinck
Subject: Re: Visual cleanup for customize buffers
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2006 22:19:17 -0600 (CST)

Richard Stallman wrote:

   I suggest a different solution: don't allow hiding a setting that is
   in state "SET".

That would be bad, because unlike EDITED items, SET items can _start out_
hidden when the group is first visited.  If you unhide them, you
should be able to hide them again without warning.

There is _no way_ that these whole buffer buttons (in multi-option
buffers) can operate in a sensible way with respect to SET items,
hidden or not.  The user could have set these items using the menu bar
Options item or using `M-x customize-set-variable', without any intent
to save them (both mark the item SET).  But after quite a while, he
searches for another item, which, by coincidence, turns out to be in
the same group as one or more of the items he has set outside any
Custom buffer.  The group is huge, so he does not see this.  He saves
the one item he wants to save and inadvertently also saves the items
he only wanted to set temporarily.

The above is a way worse and way more likely problem than the user
hiding an option he has set with a state button.  Nobody knowing how
to use a State button is going to use the whole buffer buttons in
multi-option buffers anyway.  If they do, and they hid an item, it
most likely is because they did not want to save it, certainly if the
text above the whole buffer buttons clearly points out that HIDDEN
items will not be saved.

Just clearly stating above the whole buffer buttons that they do not
apply to HIDDEN items should, for now, eliminate user confusion about
hidden items.

Solving the other, more likely, problem I pointed out above could be
discussed after the release.

Maybe, after the release, it would be better to replace the current
set of six whole buffer buttons with three:

"Save Edited Items"  "Undo Edits"  "Kill buffer"

"Save Edited Items" is analogous to "Apply", "Kill Buffer" to "Cancel"
in other applications.  I do not believe that there is a need in Emacs
for the "OK" of other applications (which means "Save Edited Items and
Kill Buffer").

As the name says, "Save Edited Items" would only save EDITED items.  I
believe that this is a lot safer for beginning users who are likely to
have set items with the menu bar.  If they want to save items set with
the menu bar, they should use "Save Options" from the Menu bar.  If
they want to save items they have set with a State button, they should
save them with the State button.  If the whole buffer buttons _only_
affect EDITED items, then there is no problem with hidden options,
because EDITED items can not be HIDDEN.



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