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Re: Customizing the mode line

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Customizing the mode line
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 2009 20:30:39 +0200

> From: M Jared Finder <address@hidden>
> Date: Sat, 31 Oct 2009 10:46:23 -0700
> Eli Zaretskii wrote:
> >> From: Richard Stallman <address@hidden>
> >> CC: address@hidden
> >> Date: Sat, 31 Oct 2009 07:07:44 -0400
> >>
> >> I don't think that a better UI for customizing the mode line is a
> >> really important place to improve.  Customizing it is not that hard to
> >> do.
> > 
> > ??? Really?  Then please describe how to do that.  What user options
> > are available for that, and what values one should give them for the
> > following use-cases:
> The first two are easy.

Not really.

> >  . Show only the major mode, not the minor modes.
> (setq minor-mode-alist nil)

"C-h v minor-mode-alist RET" produces a 100-odd line long "*Help*"
buffer, where even I get lost.  And how did you know that setting it
to nil will do the trick? the doc string doesn't tell.

> or customize mode-line-modes

This one produces a 123-line "*Help*" buffer.  Most users will not
know how even to start customizing it, because the various portions of
the spec are not documented at all.

> >  . Remove the percent/All/Top/Bot part.
> Remove the first two entries of mode-line-position

Come on! "C-h v" on this variable produces a 71-line "*Help*" buffer
for just 3 indicators.  If this is user-friendly UI, then I don't know
what a user-friendly UI is.

> In short, I have four proposals:
> 1. Change mode-line-format to not include ANY explicitly propertized 
> strings.  Use :eval and :propertize.
> 2. Remove condition branching in mode-line-format.  Just variables with 
> formatting info should be there, put the branching in those variables.
> 3. Change the pretty-printer used by C-h v to somehow recognize that 
> mode-line-format should be formatted with a newline after every element.
> 4. Change the customize option for mode-line-format to display it as a 
> reorderable list, like c-mode-hook.

Sounds like a good plan.  Thanks.

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