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RE: Key bindings proposal

Subject: RE: Key bindings proposal
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2010 16:10:13 -0400

On Tue, 3 Aug 2010 12:56, Uday Reddy wrote:
| When new users come to using a tool like Emacs, their first mode of
| interaction is via the menubar, used with the mouse.  The second might
| be to use keyboard accelerators.

As a relevantly recent adoptee of Emacs (circa Winter 2007) I'm
compelled to respond.

What you say in the above two sentences is true of my experience
coming to Emacs.

The rest of what you say below is well off the mark w/re my experience.

| Only after they have settled down to using the tool would they begin
| to learn some of its key bindings.

This does not reflect my experience at all.

I read through the tutorial which got me "settled down" in a
reasonable time frame and in a reasonable manner.

| And, they will learn them selectively based on the frequency of use
| and what they care about.

Obv. but this is true of most learning experiences/curves. So what?

Maybe someone should author emacs-vulcan-mind-meld.el then learning
Emacs will no longer be a selective process. (:

| They almost definitely won't start by reading the manual. Whatever
| we might think about it, that is not the way the world works

Nearly the first thing I did after reading the tutorial was to _print_
a copy of that big damned Emacs manual wit a 2up landscape
orientation. I bound it with some white-glue. Then I read it on the
ride to and from work. It quickly became quite dog-eared.

Indeed, I once became quite irate once after Stefan politely
suggested I RTFM after asking a question on this group re: regexp
escaping b/c I _had_ read the manual (though obv. reading about a
thing is sometimes mutually exclusive of understanding the thing).

| They will look up the manual when they are stuck on something or
| want to learn about some particular feature. If the manual dwells on
| the fundamentals too much, it will get in the way.

This is a ridiculous assertion.

After a few years of Emacs use I still use/refer to the manual
constantly. Moreover, I become _annoyed_ when the manual glosses over
a fundamental.

Frequently my own user experience has been that until I achieve a
clear grasp of an Emacs fundamental I am unable to dispense w/
frequent reference to the manual. When the manual discusses a
fundamental at length I consider this an _Emacs_ feature that is quite
often (i.e. almost always) lacking w/ other software.

As a case in point, I read the following portion of the elisp manual
on more than one occasion without understanding at all what its author
was "getting at" though I did retain an impression that it was somehow

(info "(elisp)Not Intervals")

I can recall quite distinctly the moment I finally "got" the
implications of this section. My current impression is that the
section is a couched lesson in mathematical correctness w/re
software. I doubt very seriously most software documentation includes
such passages in their manuals though i would bet that its developers
would benefit from an opportunity to reflect upon such things....


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