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RE: (fn ...) - please fill it at the point of generation

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: (fn ...) - please fill it at the point of generation
Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2007 19:23:20 -0800

> > Could this please be fixed, so that functions such as
> > `documentation' and `documentation-property' return a
> > doc string that has reasonable-length lines? Thanks.
> Why don't you just wrap them yourself, in the code that calls
> `documentation'?  Wrapping is, in general, a display thing, so it seems
> best to not add hair in more primitive code to worry about it.

1. It's not so easy in my particular context. But this is not about me. It's
about any code that uses doc strings (and cares about line length). Why
change all such code, instead of preventing the bug in the first place? Code
that generates user doc should be smart enough to respect the GNU Emacs
convention for line length. What's the big deal?

2. Pretty much all other lines of every doc string are correct in this
regard. Why should this be the lone exception and force all code that uses
doc-strings to patch things up after the fact? An ounce of prevention is
worth a pound of cure.

3. We have already added code to the `describe-*' commands to fix this at
their end. Fixing the problem where this text is automatically added to the
doc string, instead, will fix it for any and all code that uses doc strings,
present and future. And the band-aid code can then be removed from the help
functions, where it never really belonged anyway.

Doc strings are important, general constructs; they are not only for this or
that already existing `describe-*' command (or apropos command or...). That
was the wrong place to fix the problem, but it took me a while to discover

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