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Re: Emacs for new users

From: Stephen Eilert
Subject: Re: Emacs for new users
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 2009 14:05:35 -0300

On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 1:37 PM, Per Starbäck <address@hidden> wrote:
I wrote:
> But I prefer if they don't have to, since they have lots of other stuff to learn as
> well. Every good step is a good step, even the small ones.

I should add that I love all the care that has been taken in making
Emacs 23 even more accessible for new users
than Emacs 22 was. I'm teaching an intro course where we use Emacs
among other things, and I think if was a big
change to do this with Emacs 23 this year. Kudos to all involved!

Maybe I should ask my students about what they have found particularly
confusing. Some things I've noticed
off the top of my head:

* beeping is often disturbing and unexpected, in particular for
scrolling past the beginning or end of the
 buffer with the scroll wheel. (I agree. That's hardly an error.)

True. That's why the very first thing I do with any emacs installation is to silence it. I wouldn't be as bad if the standard desktop sounds were used.

I think this scroll wheel error thing should be removed entirely.
* the frame/window terminology (of course)

Also true.
* I have a hard time getting them to use *one* emacs instead of
starting several when they are editing several files.

That's probably because their .emacs files are small(if they exist at all). It takes several seconds for my emacs to start, and that's just not acceptable to me.

You could try teaching them about emacsclient (and making it the default associated editor for whatever they are editing).
 One reason is they want them in different frames. Probably
find-file-other-frame should be in the menus.

This is... suprising. That might be due to the lack of tabs. Even then, I'd think they'd want different windows, instead of frames.

You might consider providing an standard .emacs file with this.
* They are interrupting things by doing stuff with the mouse. Like
clicking somewhere in the middle of a query-replace.

That takes time getting used to. Perhaps they don't even understand that the minibuffer is actually a buffer, and that their movement commands work just fine. This is not immediately apparent.


programmer, n:
       A red eyed, mumbling mammal capable of conversing with inanimate monsters.

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