[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: guided tour suggestions

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: guided tour suggestions
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2007 15:08:12 -0700

> 0. Am I the only one that thinks the parts of the text in <tt> are too
>    small to be legible?  Or are my Firefox fonts screwed up?

They look OK for me, in IE6.0.

> 1. The screenshots on http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/tour/ are too
>    zoomed out to be legible.  I guess the reason for this is so that
>    the entire Emacs window can be displayed.  I think it would be
>    better if the screenshot images on the main page of the tour are at
>    100% zoom, and cropped so that only the relevant part of the window
>    is seen.  When you click on each image, it should bring you to a
>    bigger imager showing the entire Emacs window.

Generally agree. However, showing full-size screenshots takes a lot more
screen space and so interrupts the reading flow. Show at least some of the
screenshots (e.g. ediff, mail) reduced and uncropped, when it is important
to give an idea of the entire layout (but still let you click to get

* No need for a screenshot to show the grocery list; just print the list.

* The code screenshot should show a language that Emacs newbies might be
familiar with, instead of Emacs Lisp - e.g. C++, Java.

* There could be a *grep* or *compilation* screenshot, perhaps showing
another window with found source code.

* There could be a screenshot showing incremental search. It should be
repeated in the search section.

* The ediff screenshot is very good, but the tiny Ediff frame should be
moved from in front of the other frame, so you can tell it is a frame.

* The dired screenshot could be better, perhaps showing code files in a
project, with an inserted subdir, some marked files, and an interaction in
the minibuffer.

* There could be a screenshot showing Help or Info in use.

* The shell screenshot could lose the quotation - it's confusing here.

* The email screenshot could be better chosen, perhaps.

* I would lose the tetris screenshot. If the point is to show that Emacs has
play activities too, I'd skip this shot. Compared to play things available
elsewhere, this is not very convincing. Better to show a good conversation
with the shrink. I'd skip this stuff altogether, personally.

* Put the hexl screenshot last, if at all.

> 5. In the section on Macros, I think we should recommend the F3 and F4
>    keys new to Emacs 22, since they are easier to use than the old
>    kmacro keys.

No real opinion on that, except that some keyboards don't have function
keys, and some people never leave the home keys. I don't know if there is a
general policy on this.

The section should be called "Keyboard Macros" (or "Recording Interactions"
or some such), however, not Macros.

> Also, I wonder if the tour should mention transient mark mode.  Now
> that font-lock-mode is on by default, transient mark mode is IMHO the
> reigning champion for Feature That Should Be Turned On By Default But
> Isn't.

I agree. In fact, I vote for turning on delete-selection-mode by default.

However, since it's not on by default, I don't think the tour should mention
it. If it were on, I'd prefer that we present the region in the tour in
d-s-m terms (simple) - helas. Delete selection mode is closer to what most
newbies will be familiar with (besides being better for everyone ;-)).

BTW, wrt "the constant interference of unintended active regions with both
buffer display and operation" (David), I've never found it to interfere with
anything I do in Emacs. Anyway, we don't want to open that hornet's nest
this time around. Just chalk me up as one more vote in favor of d-s-m, but
not in favor of mentioning it in the tour, because you have to turn it on.

I haven't had a chance to read the tour yet (!); I just took a quick look at
the sections Chong referred to and skimmed some more. Looks generally good
so far.

The order seems a bit weird: It seems odd to tour tramp, server, and
registers before "Common Emacs concepts" such as prefix args, modes, and
minibuffer, for instance. I would say users should tour "Learning about
Emacs" near the beginning (and not call it Learning _more_ about Emacs) -
teaching how to learn is one of the first things to get across, not the

I'm not sure what I think about the presentation of Undo. It is generally
clear, but it looks a bit intimidating because of the diagrams. If we keep
the diagrams, perhaps add a diagram showing Emacs undo that corresponds to
the first two diagrams. We don't see Emacs undo until the discussion of
accessing the past after performing a non-undo/redo action. That is, we only
see an Emacs undo chain that corresponds to the 3rd diagram.

I know that some people have found Emacs's undo disconcerting, but I've
never found it anything but intuitive, from the beginning. Cell diagrams
seem complicated for presenting this, to me. I feel ambivalent about the
diagrams, actually. If you trace them through carefully, I suppose they can
help, but I think it's a lot easier to get a mental model of Emacs undo by
just trying it.

It might be useful to state that, unlike other editors, you can, in effect,
undo past undo actions (without going into detail trying to describe exactly
what that means).

"Useful features" is a catch-all category. It's content needs to be moved
(restructure). For example, move keyboard macros to the editing section.

What feature is not useful? "Useful features" even includes
phases-of-the-moon, which is hardly an example of "Integration with common
tools". No need to mention such stuff, IMO; users will appreciate it more
when they find it, as an "extra" (a la easter egg).

The region is not presented as such in a dedicated section (the closest
thing is the Mark section) - it is mentioned here and there. Narrowing
should be presented with the region.

We might want to mention the mouse in connection with the region, as Emacs'
mouse is enhanced wrt what people are used to elsewhere. Might, might not.

We might mention more about Emacs's features for editing code. Things such
as indentation that we take for granted, for instance.

HTH. Thanks for this tour; it should help new users.

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]