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Re: Why does the tutorial talk about C-n/C-p etc?

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Why does the tutorial talk about C-n/C-p etc?
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2016 21:03:07 +0200

> From: Clément Pit--Claudel <address@hidden>
> Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2016 14:41:54 -0400
> Here are a few things that I struggled with when I started using Emacs 
> (phrased in terms of concepts that I was already familiar with)
> * Opening and saving a file
> * Copying (or cutting) and pasting
> * Undoing, and in particular the notion of undoing an undo
> * Using C-u as a prefix
> * Searching (and replacing)
> * The notion of major and minor modes
> Interestingly, the tutorial does cover all of this; but it also tried to 
> train me to be efficient at things that I didn't care (like having me jump 
> around the buffer, paging through things with C-v, etc): what I wanted was a 
> five minutes introduction which would:
> * Give me enough to survive in Emacs with more or less the same productivity 
> as I has in GEdit (which was pretty low)
> * Teach me a few cool features so that I felt compelled to keep using Emacs
> Based on this, it would be easy to pick up more stuff along the way.
> Speaking of cool features, here are a few ones that are very simple to 
> comprehend, but that I find very useful; I think the tutorial could expose 
> them:
> * C-SPC C-SPC to mark a point
> * C-u C-SPC to jump to a previously marked point
> * C-w marking the following word during a search

I see your point.  But here's the problem:

 * The tutorial explicitly aims at making you more productive than
   you'd be in GEdit or Notepad, as high productivity is one of
   Emacs's string selling points
 * The set of "cool features" that users would like to be taught is
   highly variable from one user to another, and their superset is way
   too large for a tutorial

The only practical solution to the dilemma is to have multiple
tutorials.  This is not ideal, either, because many newcomers will not
know enough to choose the ones they want, but it's a step in the right
direction (IMO).

The only problem is to find volunteers who'd actually write such

> In addition, I think many people get attracted to Emacs for a particular 
> programming language, so I like the suggestion of the tutorial branching up 
> into various directions after exposing the basics.

I actually think that a tutorial should demonstrate the common stuff,
i.e. how the same commands do different things in each major mode.
For the details that are specific to each mode users should read the
respective manuals and doc strings, as describing them in a tutorial
will make that tutorial be very much like the manual ;-)

> One final idea: maybe the tutorial could showcase more of Emacs' fancy 
> features? Like syntax highlighting, spell checking, image support, 
> indentation, and similar things? Right now it's a plain text buffer in 
> fundamental mode.

Excellent ideas, but again: we need someone to step forward and
actually do all that.  Most of us are not good at writing such
interactive documentation.

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