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RE: Emacs terminology (not again!?) [was: Apologia for bzr]

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Emacs terminology (not again!?) [was: Apologia for bzr]
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2014 12:31:29 -0800 (PST)

> > If Emacs were invented from scratch today, it
> > would still need its own jargon.  Some of the particulars would
> > no doubt be different, but Emacs would still stand apart in both
> > behavior and terminology.
> Yes, but the jargon would not conflict with widely used terminology.

Preferably, yes; agreed.  Other things being equal...

> Would you really redefine a common word like "window", and invent
> another one referring to the established meaning of windows?

No, I would not.  This is what I meant by "Some of the particulars
would no doubt be different."

> Other things are actually different, and different terms are
> appropriate. "Mark" comes to mind, or "major" and "minor" modes.

Yes, in general.  (Dunno about "mark", but let's not get into
particulars right now.)

> You're right in that Emacs is not yet another editor, and you want
> to send that message.  But, don't people see this soon enough when
> they actually use it?

Yes.  I am not suggesting that that message is not getting across.
You are mistaken that I feel a need to send that message.  My point
was that Emacs behavior is different, and it necessarily has its
own terminology to some extent.  That is not something to be wished
away or papered over.

> The UI experiment that I have been interested in with Aquamacs, is
> to allow people to gradually transition from a newbie user to a
> proficient one with high routinized sequences of actions.  This is
> actually something that other editors and IDEs can't provide to the
> extent that Emacs does.  Netbeans, Eclipse, Xcode - they're great
> IDEs and very integrated, and certainly useful for proficient users,
> but they're nowhere nearly as efficient as Emacs.

Concrete suggestions about that might well be helpful.  So far,
the discussion has just rehashed previous ones.  What you suggest
is not a bad goal, but the starting point should not be to short-sell
newbie Emacs users (not suggesting your approach does that; I don't
know).  They are as bright as past newbies, no doubt.

Yes, they have more experience with other approaches that could
mislead them - Emacs is not often their first editor/UI.  But that
does not mean they cannot "get" Emacs.  What is true today, as it
always has been, is that some effort to learn is needed.  You
cannot just pick up Emacs expecting it to do what you are used to,
without being disappointed or missing the boat.

One has only to look at the questions on a site such as
StackOverflow, not especially those about Emacs, but generally
(and apparently about PHP in particular), to see that some users
expect instant familiarity with a product without any effort - not
even a cursory look at the doc or a Google search.  The SO site
leaders are continually lamenting the poor quality of (some)
questions and askers.  Some people really do expect a royal road
to learning.  Encouraging them in that does not help them or
anyone else.

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