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RE: make-progress-reporter suggestions: 'modeline and customizableprogre

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: make-progress-reporter suggestions: 'modeline and customizableprogress-reporter--pulse-characters
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2011 13:28:05 -0800

> I'm dubious about the idea.  The mode-line is supposed to show
> information about one window, while the progress-reporter is a global
> indicator, so conceptually it's not a good fit.

FWIW, I'm not crazy about the idea either.  It should at least be optional
(under both program and user control).

(However, wrt mode-line info: a global minor mode can have a lighter, in which
case it will appear in all windows.)

> What do we do if the user switches windows while the progress reporter
> is spinning?  Does the current window take over the spinning?  Or do
> inactive mode-lines spin too?  (That would be annoying.)
> Global indicators, especially transient ones, ought to use the echo
> area.

Hm. The echo area shows only when the minibuffer does not show.  Would this be
like `message' output, which is erased and doesn't come back, or would it resume
after being preempted by the minibuffer?  (I certainly hope it would not appear
during minibuffer input.)

In any case, why would this be a global indicator?  What if someone wants to
apply it to show the progress of more than one thing?  This sounds far too
general - akin to just an hourglass pointer.

If we really must have something like this, let it be limited to a particular
buffer (show the buffer if you're interested in following the progress; don't
show it when you don't want to see it).  Optionally show the buffer in a
separate frame - it could be as small as you like (e.g tooltip-like, with no

And if it is done that way it could (if the appropriate data is available)
indicate relative progress - e.g. a tiny progress bar instead of a tiny spinner.

At least let this feature be configurable with different appearances to indicate
the (possibly simultaneous) progress of different things.

> Using the background of the echo area as a progress bar would be nice,
> but that may need some redisplay engine changes.  (It won't 
> be annoying if the color changes are muted enough, and I believe there 
> are many GUI applications that do something similar.)

Again, I would certainly want to be sure that it will go away when the
minibuffer is active.

Even in that case I don't think changing the background color is a good idea.
Some users might have a standalone minibuffer (+echo area) frame with their
chosen background, and they might even modify that background dynamically to
indicate other things.

The echo area is for punctual output to the user, not for longstanding display.
I think it is the wrong place for this kind of thing.  I would sooner see it in
a mode line than the echo area.  But I agree with you that it might not be
related to any particular existing window.

> If that's too hard, how about reserving the first character 
> in the echo area for a spinner instead?

Again, hopefully this would not affect the minibuffer.
That's my main concern here - touches pas au minibuffer.

FWIW - All in all, personally I would find this feature a distraction.  I would
be one user who would turn it off.  YAGNI.

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