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Re: Should undefined behavior be encouraged in Emacs?

From: Barry Warsaw
Subject: Re: Should undefined behavior be encouraged in Emacs?
Date: Fri, 7 Oct 2011 11:26:52 -0400

On Oct 06, 2011, at 10:12 PM, Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen wrote:

>Andreas Röhler <address@hidden> writes:
>> for me transient-mark-mode in connection with a mark set is enough.
>Oh, are we having this discussion again?
>I, like (I'm assuming) all other oldey-timey Emacs users :-), disabled
>`transient-mark-mode' the first chance I got.  And the reason for that
>is that `C-x C-x' activates the region, which makes it impossible to use
>that command to jump around in buffers.  Which I do constantly.
>If that rather odd overloading of the `C-x C-x' command went away, I
>might start using `transient-mark-mode'.

I'm positive I qualify for "oldey timey" status, and not just because of the
color of what's left of my hair.  I've used X/Emacs daily since probably the
mid-80's.  Back when I was doing a lot of elisp programming, I thought that
XEmacs's API for active regions was just about perfect in its simplicity and
ease of use, and the UI just felt natural.  Translating my usage patterns to
Emacs was one of the biggest impediments to switching back to Emacs, which I
finally managed to do 3+ years ago.

Since I don't do much elisp hacking these days, I can't comment on the APIs
anymore, but I do occasionally report bugs in python-mode.el, which is where I
think Andreas is coming from.  As for the UI, it all feels quite natural these
days in Emacs and I'm fairly certain I'm using the defaults.

One quick note about C-x C-x and C-space.  For several decades now I've used
Ken Manheimer's most awesome namedmarks code[1].  With no C-u, these work just
like their default cousins (I think, it's been a long time), but with an
argument, they allow you to name locations in the buffer.  E.g.

C-u C-space
-> Set named mark:
here RET
(move somewhere far away)
C-u C-x C-x
-> Goto mark named (default here)

jumps you back to the mark named 'here'.  Of course, you can have any number
of named marks, and both prompts support completion.  It's a testament to its
elegant simplicity that I don't think this code has been touched in 20 years
and still works beautifully.  It's a great addition to the core UI, IMO.
Notably, going to a named mark does *not* activate the region, which I think
makes perfect sense given that I'm often jumping around over several screen
fulls.  I don't think I could function without namedmarks.


[1] My local copy is (C) 1991 FSF, which looks pretty close to

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