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Re: Emacs undo behavior frustrating for new users.

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: Emacs undo behavior frustrating for new users.
Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2018 14:42:26 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/27.0.50 (gnu/linux)

> Here is an answer from my friend Noel, who was recently a new user of Emacs.
> (He still uses Emacs, he's just no longer a new user.)  When I saw your
> question above, I remembered Noel's frustration with Emacs's default undo
> behavior when he was learning Emacs, and I asked him if he'd be willing to
> write it up.

BTW, Emacs does provide the "usual" undo command under the name
`undo-only` (it only affects the way Emacs traverses the undo history,
not the way the undo history is built, so it can be mixed with Emacs's
traditional `undo` just fine).
We could also provide a corresponding `undo-redo` command, which
similarly only performs redo actions.

>> The other behavior that can be confusing to new users of emacs is
>> that if the user is in the process of "undoing" to an earlier point
>> in the action history, the act of moving the cursor (for example,
>> with the arrow keys) will interrupt the undo sequence even though no
>> change has been made to the contents of the buffer.

I've been using here a patch which makes `undo` query the user when this
happens.  More specifically, if you call `undo` when the last buffer
modification was itself an undo but the last command was not an undo, it
prompts the user asking where they want to continue undoing.


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