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Re: Tabs

From: Juri Linkov
Subject: Re: Tabs
Date: Mon, 02 Sep 2019 22:27:46 +0300
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/27.0.50 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu)

> Is it truly wise to have the word “tab” as part of the name of this
> feature? The word “tab” (when not referring to codepoint U+0009 CHARACTER
> TABULATION) usually refers to the specific visual indication that resembles
> a row of tabs in old filing cabinets. The feature itself doesn't really
> have that much to do with tabs of either kind.

A row of tabs in filing cabinets and notebooks is a good analogy to what
these visual elements are intended for.

> I'm raising this because I initially had no idea what this was about
> (thinking it referred to U+0009) and even after figuring it out, I'm still
> confused by the names of the functions and modes.
> A term that uniquely describes the actual feature would be very helpful in
> reducing confusion. Especially among people who have never heard about the
> functionality before.

Actually there is not much confusion between two terms - on the
Wikipedia disambiguation page there are two separate definitions:

  Computing and technology
    Tab (interface), a visual marker in a computer application
    Tab key, on a keyboard

Even the Emacs Glossary at (info "(emacs) Glossary") defines the TAB
using a special syntax where all letters are in upper case:

       <TAB> is the tab character.  In Emacs it is typically used for
       indentation or completion.

So in the documentation when mentioned as a key, the term is usually
in upper-case as TAB, or more disambiguation is added such as in
“tab key” or “tab character” - these are different things too: the
former is a key on the keyboard, the latter is a character usually
displayed as 8 spaces, but there is not much confusion between them too.

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