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Re: *scratch* buffer documentation

From: Jean-Christophe Helary
Subject: Re: *scratch* buffer documentation
Date: Fri, 27 Dec 2019 03:14:11 +0900

> On Dec 27, 2019, at 2:36, Lars Ingebrigtsen <address@hidden> wrote:
> Jean-Christophe Helary <address@hidden>
> writes:
>> I just tried something:
>> create a buffer, type something, kill Emacs.
>> Of course, when I restarted Emacs the buffer was gone.
>> In any other editor I'd either have a warning that I'm going to lose
>> data or the data would have been automatically saved and would be
>> restored when I restarted the editor.
> Are there any other editors where you can open a "buffer" that's not
> associated with a file?

As far as *UX* is concerned (I'm not concerned about the internals), pretty 
much all the editors I use. Including the most basic macos TextEdit.

When you create a new "file" it is just a "buffer" and is not associated to any 
material file at that point. And TextEdit will keep the data even if the file 
is not created/saved even if TextEdit is "killed" and restarted.

The cool (?) thing about Emacs is that you can do the same thing in 2 ways:
create a buffer
visit a non existing *file*

when you modify and then kill the two without saving, in one case the data is 
gone, in the other case Emacs does not ask you whether you worry about the 
contents of the *file* or not, but whether you worry about the *buffer*...

So the main difference in Emacs is that either you start by saying you want to 
associate the buffer to a file, or you finish by saying that. That is a 
complication that does not exist in (most) other editors.

But as far as the user is concerned (and users now have the possibility to have 
a lot of experience outside the Emacs realm before coming here, or while using 
Emacs) it is not fundamentally different, and not different from what they 
experience outside Emacs, especially since the nature of a buffer is not 
properly explained.

> Most people use editors to edit files,

I don't know that. I know that I'd paste a big bunch of data into an open 
window in BBEdit and do regex search replaces and then paste the results back 
to wherever I need it, and that window will never be saved to a file. I use 
TextEdit like that plenty of the time too. There is a lot of transient 
information that will be reshuffled to various applications and I just need a 
place to type a few things. But I know that contrary to Emacs, such transient 
data is mostly safe in other applications.

Jean-Christophe Helary
http://mac4translators.blogspot.com @brandelune

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