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RE: Unuseful keybindings

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Unuseful keybindings
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2012 09:03:03 -0800

> > We never should have bound those function keys, IMHO, with 
> > (probably) the exception of `f1', which has more in the way
> > of supporting argument.
> Well, that's my point. None of the current f-key bindings take into 
> account repeatability, so you asking not to bind f11 for that reason 
> doesn't sound very convincing, and goes against consistency.
> I'd certainly prefer if different f-keys were bound or not 
> bound on the same principle.

Two wrongs do not make a right.

We-should-add-wrongs-in-the-name-of-consistency is misguided, and represents a
complete misunderstanding of the value of consistency.

Among other things, consistency, like so many other things that can be helpful,
is not something to be absolute about.  Consistency for a purpose, and subject
to other considerations, not just consistency for consistency's sake.

And your consistency argument works both ways: Why not consistently remove all
function-key default bindings?

> The possible reason why those keys are so nice and still 
> mostly have no bindings is they are far from the home row,

I believe that Emacs Dev intentionally avoided binding them by default.  They
were left for users and applications.

`home' (Home) and the arrow keys are far from the home row also.
They have been bound since they existed, AFAIK.

> so the expectation is they can only be used for one-off commands,

Who's expectation?  What makes you think that?  Wanna guess how many users use
the arrow keys and how often?  Not very one-off, is my guess.

> not in a sequence in the middle of other commands during an editing session.

Why?  Wanna guess how many users hold down an arrow key to repeat its command?

Imagine if Emacs Dev had misguidedly bound `down' (the down arrow) by default to
a non-repeatable command such as `fullscreen'.  Not as useful as the key could

> > There is absolutely no reason for Emacs to bind `f3' and 
> > `f4' by default.  Emacs has had keyboard macros practically
> > from Day One.  Zillions of Emacs users created zillions of
> > keyboard macros, without Emacs Dev ever feeling that we
> > should waste binding simple, repeatable keys to their 
> > creation and execution.
> These keys are featured on the Emacs tour page, so there's no getting 
> rid of them now, I suppose.

That's silly.  Just update the tour to use `C-x e e e e ...' or whatever.

> > Or consider `f5', which often refreshes/revert the current 
> > context, outside Emacs.  I myself bind `f5' to a command that does 
> > (revert-buffer t t).  And I've suggested to others that they might
> > want to do the same.  But I don't propose that Emacs adopt that
> > convention by default, even though I use it all the time.
> I don't think this command is generally useful enough.

Again, I do _not_ propose that Emacs bind `f5' by default.
As for its general usefulness: users and their uses differ.

> The only kind of file that might need frequent refreshing I 
> can imagine is a log file, and if you're viewing one of those
> in Emacs, you'd also have to scroll to the bottom each time.

But are you aware that `revert-buffer' is not only about reverting files from
disk?  It reverts/refreshes all kinds of buffers, from bookmark lists to Dired
(and to a web page, I assume, if you use an Emacs browser).  From the doc

| This command also implements an interface for special buffers
| that contain text which doesn't come from a file, but reflects
| some other data instead (e.g. Dired buffers, `buffer-list'
| buffers).  This is done via the variable `revert-buffer-function'.
| In these cases, it should reconstruct the buffer contents from the
| appropriate data.

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