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RE: Global bar to display global information

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Global bar to display global information
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2011 09:40:34 -0700

> > This proposed feature is along the same lines.  But this would not
> > have as its goal to eliminate mode lines from individual 
> > windows.  It would instead just free up some of that
> > individual-window mode line space that might be used for global
> > info (not specific to the given buffer/window).
> I'll appreacite such feature.
> Most of the time the minibuffer is an idle blank line at the bottom of
> the frame. Using it for displaying some global info sounds quite
> convenient. It could display the global info even while asking for
> input, overwritting the area used by the info as necessary.

Ouch!  That's not what I meant at all.  I would not want to see such info
displayed in the minibuffer/echo area itself (too complex, confusing,
distracting, messy, noisy).  

And we already have ways of posting text to the echo area (same space as
minibuffer) when the minibuffer is inactive: `message'.  That messages get
replaced by later messages and by minibuffer input is just a further
demonstration that using the minibuffer/echo area for this global info would be
a bad idea.

All I really meant was an analogy: In the same way that a standalone minibuffer
frame lets you factor out the multiple minibuffers into a single one, so some
kind of global mode line would let you factor out the common/global info from
the multiple mode lines into a single one.  Somewhere.

The feature needs to be optional in any case (obviously).  It could also be a
user choice where to put this global/common mode line.  Choices might be:

a. In a standalone minibuffer frame (if it exists), in its own dedicated space
within that frame (e.g. 1 line, 2 lines? extendable?), perhaps above the
minibuffer/echo area.

b. Standalone, in its own frame.

c. As a separate line in some existing frame (but in only one).  We'd need some
way to let users (and Lisp code) choose which frame.

d. ? ...

(As a user, I would choose (a).)

However, for (c), there would be the annoyance of not necessarily seeing the
info whenever the frame in question is somewhat occluded by another frame.

That could happen in (a) or (b) also, but there the frame could presumably be
positioned so that it is generally visible.  That's anyway what users (e.g. I)
do now for a minibuffer frame.  (Mine's across the bottom of the screen, and I
generally fit other frames, by default, so they don't overlap it.)

Another possibility here (for (a) & (b)) would be to provide an `always-on-top'
frame parameter that would cause its frame to never be occluded by other (Emacs)
frames (except possibly by another frame that also has non-nil `always-on-top').

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