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Re: Changes for emacs 28

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: Changes for emacs 28
Date: Wed, 09 Sep 2020 12:05:54 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/28.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Thanks, TEC, I found it quite useful.  Further comments and questions below.

> * Org-mode, my ramp into Emacs pt.1 - vanilla
> - I'd heard about Org-mode as a thing markdown + execution
> - Maybe this could be better than Jupyter?
> - However... I didn't like Spacemacs
> - Removed Spacemacs
> - Typed 'emacs' into a terminal

So far so good.

> - Oh, this looks old.

Fair enough.  I don't think we (Emacs community) are in a position to
make it look "modern" and sexy.  I know I'm not because my notion of
"modern and sexy" is quite outmoded ;-)

But "looks old" is usually not a deal breaker, just a negative
first impression.

> - Successfully opened a file
>   + Where are the line numbers?

Interesting.  It would never occur to me to expect line numbers in
a text editor.  When and why did line numbers become fashionable?
[ My guess is something like "ever since shortscreens became the only
  option, creating a void in the horizontal space that needed
  filling" ;-) ]

I don't oppose enabling line numbers by default, but I do find line
numbers to be an awful waste of valuable screen real estate.

>   + Why aren't I given much information on the file

Could you be more specific in terms of the particular information that
you felt Emacs failed to give (and maybe how you expected it to be given)?

>   + Where's the completion, the linting, etc.

Do I understand you right that you expected company+eglot+flymake to be
enabled (and configured) by default?

I personally find this to be the most glaring concrete problem in
Emacs nowadays.

> - Tried to execute a command interactively (forget which command)
>   + Typed M-x
>   + Wait, this is just a text box
>   + I don't know commands off by heart!
>   + I want to be able to type key terms and see options!

How much of this would be satisfied by icomplete-mode together with the
`substring` completion-style (which would be a smaller change to
the UI than something like helm-M-x or counsel-M-x).

> - Having an initialisation† file, well commented such that *without knowing
>   anything about Emacs* I could have Emacs be set up such that I could
>   actually try it with familiar tasks and not be underwhelmed, or have
>   to deal with sudden troubleshooting

Maybe we could have a "default init file" (consisting of nothing but
commented out code snippets, accompanied by actual comments explaining

>   †The important bit about this file is that it let me declare which
>   bundles of functionality I want easily, and without having to parse
>   much unfamiliar lisp (both Spacemacs and Vanilla fail in this regard,
>   but in different ways).

Hmm... a "default init file" would still use "unfamiliar Lisp", I'm afraid.

> - Having good 'discoverability enhancements' used by default
>   - counsel for M-x

IIUC this is similar to enabling icomplete-vertical and
icomplete-show-matches-on-no-input, and maybe using a regexp
completion style?

> - Used Discord for it's community, a recent chat-app which I recognised
>   (I'm still warming up to mailing lists).

Definitely a non-starter since it's proprietary.
There are obviously acceptable alternatives.

I think an important aspect is to find a communication medium that can
be used from Emacs.  IRC and Email do satisfy this criteria.
Whenever I have to write text outside Emacs I feel hampered.


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