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Re: Intermediate tutorial shipped with Emacs

From: Spencer Baugh
Subject: Re: Intermediate tutorial shipped with Emacs
Date: Sat, 19 Sep 2015 12:13:25 -0400

Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:
> Past discussions more or less concluded that there should be a series
> of intermediate-level tutorials, each one covering topics in some
> distinct area.  So the topics you present above, that are unrelated to
> each other and probably reflect your personal interests (or even some
> random selection) are probably not the way to go.  Tramp should
> probably be in a tutorial dedicated to remote editing and URL-related
> features; narrowing should be in a tutorial that also explains
> folding, outline mode, hide-ifdef, and other similar features.  Calc
> is a topic by itself (doesn't it include its own tutorial in its
> manual?), perhaps together with Calculator.  Etc. etc. -- I would
> suggest first to come up with a list of the areas, or at least produce
> a couple of tutorials along these lines.

I do like the idea of a series of tutorials. It would probably be easier
to produce tutorials that cover groups of related features rather than
all of Emacs, and each tutorial would probably be better for it.  The
two groupings you just named sound pretty good. I agree that either
producing a list of areas to write tutorials about, or just going ahead
and writing one of those tutorials, would be a good first step.

Still, I think it is important that new users be able to quickly get a
broad sense of the categories of features available in Emacs. Perhaps a
node that links to all these tutorials, and describes the subject area
of each of them in a paragraph or two of text? This would not only
include the tutorials about "remote-editing and URLs" and "hiding and
showing text", but also the Calc tutorial and other tutorials that
already exist.

That is kind of like the Emacs manual's top node, but perhaps more
helpful for discovering new features, since it could be more descriptive
than the single-line summaries, and also have less material to search
through by virtue of grouping some features together.

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden> writes:
> +1 to "probably".  I didn't resonate to that list myself, but I can't
> really say that "most" new users wouldn't.

The list I made is indeed just a random selection of topics, but ones
that I think most users would have immediate uses for. Obviously this is
somewhat subjective, I'm not really beholden to that list, it was just
to start the conversation.

> I would envision this intermediate tutorial as a series of "HOWTO"
> do common tasks.  It would only explain enough of the feature to
> implement the HOWTO, and provide links to the manual.

I like HOWTOs and FAQs, but I'm not sure what kind of tasks would be
suitable for explanation in the manual; I'd be worried about the manual
seeming dated or purpose-specific. If a tutorial just focuses on the
abilities of Emacs, then I don't think that problem arises.

>  > > So, I wanted to see if emacs-devel thought this was a good idea,
>  > > or a bad idea, or if anyone had any suggestions. I would be happy
>  > > to adapt the document I've already written if that makes sense.
> I think that's the way to go.  Maybe post it or a link to it on the
> EmacsWiki.

Yes, I'll definitely get around to doing that.

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