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Re: [Emacs-diffs] master 9ce1d38: Use curved quotes in core elisp diagno

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: [Emacs-diffs] master 9ce1d38: Use curved quotes in core elisp diagnostics
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 12:15:13 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)

Hello, Paul.

On Sun, Aug 16, 2015 at 08:44:25PM -0700, Paul Eggert wrote:
> Dmitry Gutov wrote:
> > Doesn't (format "Expand `%s'? " string) use the "preferred quoting style"?

> No, as that would break usages such as (format "\\`%s\\'" (car e)).  This 
> sort 
> of thing is reasonably common, so it'd be a compatibility problem to change 
> ‘format’ to replace accent-grave.

> Alan Mackenzie wrote:
> > This user's preference is to be able to type quote marks in Emacs source
> > files directly without mincing workarounds, and to be able to search for
> > them likewise.

> You can continue to type quote marks as before, and Emacs will behave as it 
> always has.

This may be true, but is completely irrelevant to the points I am making.

> The only change here is if that if you want quotes in diagnostics to
> come out in the user's preferred style, a "mincing workaround" of some
> sort is needed.

The main change here is that from now on, particularly if so-called
Electric Quote mode [*] is used, we're going to end up with a chaotic
mix of ascii quotes and curly quotes in our source code.  So are users
in their source code.

[*] "Electric Quote Mode" isn't an electric mode at all (see definition
in electric.el) - it'a a translation mode, and would, perhaps, be less
confusing if renamed "Translate Quote Mode".

These source files, stuffed full of non-working characters, are more
difficult to work with, whether with less, or with grep, or whatever,
and even inside of Emacs.

> By the way, it's easy to search for quote marks in either style: just type 
> C-s ` 
> or C-s '.  And it's easy to type curved quote marks by using Electric Quote 
> mode.

Electric Quote Mode is a global mode.  It desperately needs to be buffer
local.  As it is, if EQM is enabled, non-working characters are going to
be accidentally inserted into buffers where they do not belong.

> These are both new features.  If you don't want to use these new
> features, that's fine too.

I don't want to be lumbered with editing source files with non-working

Paul, these changes of yours are simply the Wrong Thing.  The fact that
one "needs" such flaccid workarounds like EQM and the folding of quote
characters with quote characters in (some of) the searching code should
be taken as a hint just to stop and think hard.

I predict that there will be an open-ended series of bugs following from
this, little things that just don't quite work anymore, and their fixing
will be difficult and introduce yet more complexity and more little
things that don't quite work.

Emacs is steadily getting more complicated, and these changes are
gratuitous complexity.  I would say that Emacs's biggest danger at the
moment is disappearing up its own complexity.  We should be resisting
this process, not accelerating it.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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