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Re: Emacs completion matches selection UI

From: Ted Zlatanov
Subject: Re: Emacs completion matches selection UI
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 16:15:31 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.130008 (Ma Gnus v0.8) Emacs/24.3.50 (gnu/linux)

On Mon, 18 Nov 2013 22:00:33 +0200 Bozhidar Batsov <address@hidden> wrote: 

BB> On 18 November 2013 18:13, Ted Zlatanov <address@hidden> wrote:

>> In "(emacs.info) Completion Commands" there is help for using the
>> rudimentary buffer to select completion matches.  I was struck by how
>> hard to use this was, compared to more recent packages like these:
>> http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/AutoComplete
>> http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/CompanyMode
>> Is there any chance the default Emacs appearance for selecting
>> completion matches can be improved (not necessarily by default) for
>> 24.4?  I would help with this but don't know what's "state of the art"
>> and if there's already work in this direction.

BB> Unlike auto-complete-mode, Emacs's default completion system is rock-solid.
BB> :-) auto-complete uses some pretty messed up popup display library that
BB> doesn't play well with many packages. company-mode is much better in this
BB> regard.

(argh, I shouldn't have said "appearance" above, I meant "UI")

I just gave examples, without intending to promote either package. 

BB> I guess I'm so used to the default completion system that I don't see it as
BB> something primitive and hard to work with. That said, it might not be a bad
BB> idea to include a "more modern" completion system in Emacs itself, but I'd
BB> opt for simplicity and reliability over fancy UIs.

The completion system is fine.  The selection of matches is the problem:

1) see a new buffer popup with minimal help text and no highlighting
2) left, right, up, down don't work
3) realize problem, switch to candidates buffer (mouse click or `C-x o')
4) select candidate you want, get popped in original buffer

That's not simple!  It's not intuitive either, forcing me to use the
mouse unless I've read the manual node referenced above.

An alternative UI doesn't have to be fancy or graphical, only allow me
to select from among the candidates immediately, without switching
buffers, using the intuitive keys.  I hope that explains my request better.


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