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RE: completion.el users?

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: completion.el users?
Date: Sat, 11 May 2013 14:16:05 -0700

> > The question is whether Emacs already contains a reasonable
> > replacement for completion.el.
> Is it?

That was my question, yes.

> There is no replacement for completion.el in vanilla GNU 
> Emacs.  Stefan does know that.

Well I did not know it, and no one has said it until you did just now.

Why remove a perfectly good feature, which has enjoyed lots of Emacs users over
many years, if Emacs offers no replacement for it?

(BTW, try writing your next novel using vanilla Emacs both with and without
completions.el, and you might just see whether you find it useful.)

There are lots of different kinds of Emacs users, with different use cases.  And
even if only a minority of users make use of some library, that does not mean
that the library is useless for those users and should be deprecated without
offering them a reasonable substitute.

> The questions is whether to deprecate a package that is neither
> maintained not exactly used any more and that breaks Elisp coding
> conventions big time.
> Considering that auto-complete-mode is GPLv3'ed and the de-facto
> standard package for text-agnostic auto-completion within 
> Emacs, I think deprecating is worth a try.

I disagree.  If a-c-m is added to Emacs and is made to do what completion.el
does, then I probably would agree.  Until then, completion.el serves a purpose
and deserves to stay.

I see no reason to deprecate completion.el without an Emacs replacement, just
because it supposedly "breaks Elisp coding conventions big time" (which is an
exaggeration, IMO).

Or just because it supposedly is "not exactly used any more" - which is not
demonstrated.  Just googling "dynamic-completion-mode" gives 50K+ hits, some
(other than this thread) as recent as 5 days ago.  No, like your GIT search,
that is admittedly _not_ a good indicator of the use of completion.el.  But it
does not suggest either that it is "not exactly used any more".

What is the real impetus for wanting to deprecate completion.el now?

That the "last non-cosmetic patch for it was made in 2007" is not a strike
against it, IMHO.  Not at all.  And all the less so if that is reinforced with
the "argument" that that "seems surprisingly long for a 90KB file."

Completion.el has been in use for a long time.  And it is not a catch-all file
like simple.el, which would understandably be updated frequently.

And (_not_ surprisingly) there are plenty of other files, of similar size, that
exhibit the same relative non-cosmetic inactivity: calculator.el, arc-mode.el,
filesets.el, image-dired.el, ada-xref.el, ebnf2ps.el,...

I think that ebnf2ps.el, for example, is wonderful, and extremely useful for
anyone who needs what it does, but there have been very few non-cosmetic changes
to it in quite a while.  It just works (well).  Perhaps it has few users
(dunno), but I am sure they are happy users.

"Surprisingly long", indeed.

[BTW, why do people feel the need to pepper their praise or damnation for
something with "astonishingly", "surprisingly", and the like?  Too much hype.
Sounds like a "whiter than white!" laundry commercial (merci, Coluche -

So far, it sounds like the main reason for wanting to deprecate completion.el
now might just be that it uses prefix `completion-'.  Really, where's the beef?

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