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Re: Gather a list of confusions beginner tend to have

From: Yuan Fu
Subject: Re: Gather a list of confusions beginner tend to have
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2020 15:30:56 -0400

> On Sep 8, 2020, at 2:48 PM, Göktuğ Kayaalp <self@gkayaalp.com> wrote:
>> I think everybody would agree on attracting more people to use
>> Emacs—that means more blogs and help, more contributor, etc. And
>> people agree that Emacs isn’t as beginner-friendly as it could be. The
>> problem is what to improve, and how.
> Not necessarily.  Personally, I don’t see much benefit in trying to
> appeal users that have no background in coding whatsoever, and users who
> wouldn’t really benefit from what Emacs has to offer.
>> As the first step, we should collect real experiences from real
>> beginners: someone starts to use Emacs just recently (e.g., less than
>> one year).
> The major problem is that someone who fiddled with Emacs now and
> couldn’t make use of it may think differently when a couple years later
> they have some knowledge of programming (not necessarily professionally)
> and some experience with other tools.
> Anecdotally, I’ve picked up and quit Emacs multiple times before I
> decided to stay with it.  And it’s been more than 6 years now that I’m
> using it for the good part of my computing.  What was puzzling and weird
> to me back then is useful and essential to me now.
> What I mean is, what is good for newcomers, who are not guaranteed to
> stay, can be irrelevant, not so good, or even off-putting to actual
> users of this package of software.  Emacs is a power tool, and like all
> power tools, requires two preconditions to be useful: 1) the user should
> *need* the tool, and 2) the user should be willing to put in the time to
> learn the tool.  And a good power tool is designed with user who need
> and use them the most in mind.
> IDK. IMHO, we shouldn’t break stuff in Emacs itself, and maybe promote
> distros for people that want a more "modern" experience instead.  They
> don’t have the backwards compatibility baggage of Emacs so they will do
> it better than Emacs core nevertheless.
> --
> İ. Göktuğ Kayaalp / @cadadr / <https://www.gkayaalp.com/>
> pgp:   024C 30DD 597D 142B 49AC 40EB 465C D949 B101 2427

I generally agree with your point. However, what I have in mind is not changing 
defaults, but rather a configuration wizard, that can prompt user and let him 
select from Emacs binding vs CUA binding, Emacs undo vs simple undo/redo, 
themes, etc. I’ve seen such wizard in Intellj Idea, Spacemacs, etc. Something 
like (just an example):


Set UI themes:

<some C code>

- [ ] default
- [ ] dark
- [ ] ...


Keybinding notation:

    C (control)   Ctrl
    M (meta)      Alt/Option
    s (super)     Windows/Command
    S (shift)     Shift

Set keybinding style for copy/paste:

[ ] default

    M-w           Copy
    C-y           Paste
    C-w           Cut

[ ] alternative

    C-c           Copy
    C-v           Paste
    C-x           Cut

[Next] [Skip]


[ ] Enable line numbers

[ ] Use thin cursor

[ ] Disable tool bar

[ ] Disable scroll bar

[Next] [Skip]


Emacs has a powerful (but possibly unintuitive) undo system, where
undo operations themselves are recorded in the undo history, and redo
is done by undoing an previous undo operation.

Set undo style:

[ ] default

    C-/           Undo

[ ] linear

    C-/           Undo
    C-?           Redo

[ ] alternative

    C-z           Undo
    C-S-z         Redo

[Next] [Skip]


Additional packages:

[ ] Company

      Popup completion.

[ ] Ivy

      Completion for opening files, executing commands, etc.

[ ] Expand-region

      Incrementally expand selection.

[ ] Which-key

      Shows possible keybindings.

[Finish]  You can re-run this guide by M-x beginner-guide RET


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