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Re: What improvements would be truly useful?

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: What improvements would be truly useful?
Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2018 23:43:57 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/27.0.50 (gnu/linux)

> Interesting.  I have a very similar sentiment, though I think it is
> quite irrational.
> Is mu4e, Org-mode, Calc, or dunnet also "not Emacs"?  If not, how is it
> different than a word processor?

I don't think I can clearly pin-point the problem, but I think the issue
has to do with hiding information: WYSIWYG hides information, in the
sense that there are many different documents with the same visual
appearance, so the user needs to *guess* what is the underlying
document's structure in order to know what his actions will really do.
A typical example is the beginning/end of a bold text which is only
implicitly represented by the fact that some text is bold and other
isn't, but that doesn't let you easily tell whether a new word inserted
between a bold work and a non-bold word will be bold or not.

Of course Emacs can also hide information (as text-properties, as
invisible text, as data stored in buffer-local variables, ...) but most
packages follow a design where as little info as possible is hidden.
Indeed, whenever I hide such information, I think it over many times
because I know there's a very strong chance that users won't like it.

Also when it comes to data that we edit, hiding information either means
hiding it as invisible text (which tends to be fiddly, so it's used
fairly sparingly), or it implies using a complex procedure to `find` and
to `save` the buffer in order to translate between the file contents and
the in-buffer contents.  This complexity is a strong encouragement not
to go down that route.


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