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Re: Customizing the mode line

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: Customizing the mode line
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2009 15:12:40 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1.50 (gnu/linux)

Drew Adams said:
> The general idea should be to shorten fields and change the existing
> tooltips,

I'm glad we agree.  Note that we'd also need to figure out a way to make
it work for ttys as well, where tooltips aren't available (probably
providing a command like "display-full-mode-line" to dump the modeline's
text into the (resizable) echo area, would be a good start).

Eli Zaretskii said:
> Right, I also think that both percentage and the line number is
> redundant, and we could remove one of them, at least by default,
> leaving an option to restore it for those who want that.

It's very tempting, but I can already hear screams in the distance.

> We could simply display only the major mode by default, and show the
> rest in a tooltip, or with some easily-typed command.

Maybe that'll be necessary, but if we can keep a few chars of each
minor-mode that would be better.

> It should probably be moved to the right edge, because if it does not
> show in full, or even not at all, it's not a disaster: the user
> generally knows what buffer she is in.

It's tempting, but I'm also weary of a potential rebellion.

> We could also make the mode line take 2 lines, but I think this would
> be a big job, because I think various places in the display engine
> assume it's only one line.

I think that should be kept as an absolute last resort: I don't want to
waste any more vertical space than the strict minimum, and really,
fundamentally, if we need to display so much information that we need
more than one line of mode-line, maybe we're doing something wrong (the
UI is overloaded).

Joakim Verona said:
> One thing adding to the problem is that a lot of information is repeated
> in all modelines, where they could really live separately in a special
> status window.

I don't use those global indicators specifically because I don't think
they belong in the mode-line.  I'm not opposed to code such as
display-battery-mode, but making it work well is not on my list
of priorities.


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