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RE: Interpretation of a space in regexp isearch?

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Interpretation of a space in regexp isearch?
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 22:37:18 -0700

> >> On the flip side, I've seen many times that less-technical
> >> users can be sloppy with the amount of whitespace between words.
> >> If the non-regexp version is supposed to be easy to use, then
> >> `search-whitespace-regexp' behavior might be quite useful there.
> >
> > Less-technical users are often used to less-technical 
> > editors that do NOT try to be so clever (er, that is, "easy
> > to use").
> Incremental search in Emacs is different enough from the 
> search function in simple editors, I think, that doing things
> the same way is not very valuable.

Oh, we are so smart.

How come those who _invented_ incremental search and
_invented_ Emacs were not so terribly smart?

Someone should also tell the web browsers that offer incremental search...


Seriously, I'm convinced of the usefulness of magic-SPC simple search.  No one
is suggesting that Emacs must "do things the same way" as simple editors.

The question about minimizing surprise here is a question about the _default_
behavior: which simple-search behavior is turned on to begin with, with `emacs

And I don't really care a whole lot whether you make magic-SPC the default
behavior.  What I care about more is (a) the ability to easily toggle it on/off
on the fly and (b) the ability for users to choose their own default (initial)


BTW, it just occurred to me that when magic-SPC searching is turned on for
simple search, it could help to (optionally) highlight consecutive SPC, and any
non-SPC, whitespace chars in search hits (slightly) differently from the normal
search-hit highlighting.

And within a search hit, non-SPC whitespace chars (e.g. TAB, nobreak space)
could be highlighted (slightly) differently from SPC chars.  (This is for search
hits - not the same thing as `nobreak-char-display'.)

This would distinguish search hits with more than one whitespace char, and those
with non-SPC whitespace chars, from those with only one SPC char.  And it would
help users tell which SPC-search mode they are currently in.

It might be less surprising for a user who is not expecting (aware of) matching
of consecutive whitespace chars and matching of non-SPC whitespace chars when
s?he hits SPC, if such matches were more apparent.  And that includes not just a
newbie but also someone who has forgotten that magic-SPC search is turned on.

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