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RE: faq.texi

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: faq.texi
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 16:13:59 -0800

    > For comparing text sections in two different buffers, I
    > usually select them, `C-x n n', and use ediff on them. For
    > sections in the same buffer, I sometimes paste one section
    > into a new buffer and do the same.

    ediff is the "obvious" method, but it's far too heavyweight, clunky,
    and awkward for many cases (to tell the truth, I think ediff is too
    clunky and awkward even for comparing files most of the time).

I agree, but I often find that even though I start out doing a simple
comparison that doesn't need the heavy lifting of ediff, I can end up
appreciating the fact that I'm using it.

    It would be great to have a simple function that compared two
    sections of a buffer and maybe added overlays highlighting the
    equal/different bits; perhaps such a function could share some
    ediff code.

Yes, that could be good. It might be as simple as providing a different
interface (or two) to ediff. It's the narrow-to-region, set-up stuff that
represents overhead, for me. I don't find ediff too heavy once I'm in it.
(OK, then there's needing to exit...)

After using ediff as is for decades, I finally threw together a simple
case-sensitivity toggle for it (similar to whitespace sensitivity via ##). I
now use that toggle all the time, and I wonder how I ever got by without it
before. It's amazing how we can get used to doing stuff a particular way,
even if it might be simple to make a useful improvement.

Once, when I was younger and poorer, I had only one pair of shoes, which
gradually wore out. The sole of the left shoe became completely loose from
the toe back to about the middle. Well, I had gradually gotten used to
walking with those shoes, and I didn't even realize that my gait had adapted
to minimize the flopping of the left sole. When I finally bought some new
shoes, I was amazed that I had (a little) difficulty walking: it was awkward
to get by with a *good* user interface, because I had become so maladapted
to the previous bad one. It was a good lesson (but I still don't change buy
new shoes often).

BTW, there is also `compare-windows', which can be handy at times. But it is
limited and has no highlighting. Your use of C-s C-y reminds me of what
`compare-windows' does.

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