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Re: Unuseful keybindings

From: Dmitry Gutov
Subject: Re: Unuseful keybindings
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2012 21:33:18 +0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:17.0) Gecko/17.0 Thunderbird/17.0

On 23.12.2012 21:03, Drew Adams wrote:
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.

It just means that campaigning against just this one binding, at this point of time, does not make much sense.
And whether these "wrongs" are such is a matter of opinion.

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.

Consistency for the sake of making sense to a new or casual user. For example.

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

This is reductio ad absurdum. Not every kind of consistency is equally valuable.

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.

Because they behave the same way in many other programs, I'd wager.
f-keys, on the other hand, have not enjoyed the same degree of consistent behavior across programs.

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.

I'm among them. Again, binding arrow keys makes sense because many users are used to that.

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

Is that the only reason you think binding `down' to `fullscreen' is ill-advisable? :)

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.

Emacs has a policy of backwards compatibility, whenever possible, or something. Think back to the latest reversal of the `M-=' binding, which has received a rather small backlash.

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.

So, the fact is, Emacs doesn't have a command directly corresponding to "refresh" in a browser. That very well might be the reason f5 has no default binding.

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

I usually press `g' for that. Much quicker.

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