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RE: buttons for the ediff control frame

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: buttons for the ediff control frame
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 14:18:57 -0800

    Understanding how to use the ediff little control frame is kind of
    hard for first time users.
    It might help if it had some graphical buttons...
    A few buttons for the most used functions should be enough.

Keep 'em small, please.

IMO, graphics that represent the various actions might not be very
self-explanatory. But it could in any case be good to have clickable
buttons, even if they were really just hot text zones. Some suggestions on
graphics/text below. The "buttons" could be hot zones in the ediff help
buffer or in its mode line.

In general, I like the idea. It's like a tiny control panel, such as you use
for a video or music player.

Here are some suggestions - current bindings in brackets ([]), proposed
textual "buttons" in braces ({}).

              -next + previous
 {graphic/text: ">", "<"}

first (top) [j]
 {graphic/text: "<<"}

              -copy A->B, B->A
 {graphic/text: "B:=A", "A:=B"}

goto A's current [ga], goto B's current [ga]
 {graphic/text: "A", "B" (or perhaps ">A", ">B")}

recompute (update) [!]
 {graphic/text: "&" (again) or "!"}

              -revert A, revert B
I never use those - are they more useful than just reverting the buffer(s)?

 {graphic/text: "X" (or "Quit")}

 {graphic/text: "?"}

refine [*]
 {graphic/text: "..."}

toggle ignoring whitespace [##]
 {graphic/text: "st=s t"}

toggle ignoring (upper/lower) case [#c]
 {graphic/text: "St=sT"}

The last one is not yet in ediff, but it can be quite useful and I believe
that Michael Kifer is working on it. FWIW, here is some code that provides
it, for now: http://www.emacswiki.org/cgi-bin/wiki/ediff%2b.el.

The control panel ("button" bar) might then look something like this (over
one or more lines):

   <<   <   >   A   B   A:=B   B:=A

   &   ...   st=s t   St=sT   ?   X

It would probably be better to use "!" instead of "&", for consistency, but
"&" seems more suggestive of the meaning, to me.

"ab=a b" and "Ab=aB" would be more logical ("abcde" naturally stands for a
text string), but there would then be confusion with the use of "A" and "B"
as representatives of the two buffers.

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