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RE: propose adding Icicles to Emacs

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: propose adding Icicles to Emacs
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 09:38:38 -0700

> I have 329 faces now and would like to see them in the format identical to
> the format of `list-faces-display' in the *Completions* buffer.  I see
> no problem with that.
> > Adding a face swatch that is 53 characters wide to each
> > completion candidate means a lot of unnecessary clutter for
> > *Completions*. It adds nothing for the user in this context
> > to repeat the alphabet twice, even if `list-faces-display'
> > is "familiar".
> Exactly for the same reason you can complain about clutter in the
> output of `list-faces-display'.

The contexts are not identical - the use of those buffers is different. You
choose a face in *Completions* for any number of reasons. Likewise, you can
use `list-faces-display' in different ways. The reasons for using the two
are not the same, though there can be some overlap.

Space in *Completions* is limited. I want to see as many face names as
possible in that relatively small space. *Completions* is about quick
interactivity - much more so than is `list-faces-display'. You are picking a
face name in *Completions*; it is the name that is most important.

Anyway, I agree that you can also make the argument that there might not be
a need to show two whole alphabets for each face in `list-faces-display'
either. This is under the control of a variable, `list-faces-sample-text',
but that variable is not currently a user option - perhaps it should be.

Presumably, the idea behind the long default value of
`list-faces-sample-text' is the same as that used to display fonts for
choosing: show what a representative sample of characters look like. This is
important for fonts (hence also for faces) because different characters look
different in different fonts. That is, some characters might look very
similar whereas other characters look very different. To see the difference
between two fonts or faces, you sometimes need to look at a lot of

This reason for showing complete alphabets can also be a reason for showing
other than just the latin alphabet. Font samples typically include digits,
for instance (in MS Windows, they show digits and only a few letters). Some
users might want to see different alphabets, for instance. Perhaps
`list-faces-sample-text' should be a defcustom, for this reason.

The use of face names as candidates in *Completions* is not identical to the
use of `list-faces-display'. One way to let users configure this difference
would be to use a separate option for the swatch display in *Completions
(the default value would not be 53 chars long, IMO). Icicles currently only
lets you change the swatch length, but it might be good to let you specify
the swatch text instead (a la `list-faces-sample-text').

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