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Re: Interactive guide for new users

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Interactive guide for new users
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 2020 15:21:25 +0300

> Date: Sat, 12 Sep 2020 12:00:54 +0000
> From: Gregory Heytings <ghe@sdf.org>
> cc: casouri@gmail.com, emacs-devel@gnu.org
> >> What do you mean by "other UI elements"?
> >
> > The mode line, the scroll bars, the menu and the tool bar.
> >
> The effect on the mode line is show on the fly, see the video Yuan Fu 
> made.  For the scroll bars, the menu and the tool bar, I don't know if it 
> is possible to change their appearance within Emacs.  Is it possible?

It depends.  My point, though, is that when one needs to choose from a
large number of themes, showing how Emacs will look under a theme
makes the selection process easier.  So an image sounds like a good
way of showing the effect without requiring any action on the user.
Images also make it simpler comparing the effects of several themes.

> >> Yes, but what I meant is to have a list of font names in the buffer, 
> >> and choosing a font by clicking on the font name.
> >
> > Why?  The Options menu item I've mentioned pops up the system's font 
> > selection dialog, which is way nicer than selecting a font from an Emacs 
> > buffer.  To say nothing of being less work.  What am I missing?
> >
> You're not missing anything.  It's just convenience for new users, telling 
> them to go there and there to do this and that is more confusing than 
> offering them a limited number of options during the guided tour.

You don't need to tell the user do anything, you can pop up the font
selection dialog programmatically.

> >> It's just an option.  In the video by Yuan Fu ( 
> >> https://youtu.be/0qMskTAR2aw ) you'll see that this screen is a list of 
> >> checkboxes that the user can tick.
> >
> > My point is that we should not put there unimportant options, let alone 
> > those which we recommend not to change from the defaults.
> >
> I think the criterion here is not whether an option is from our point of 
> view important or unimportant, or whether we recommend or not to change 
> its default value, but whether a user coming from another editing 
> environment is likely to want it to feel "at home".

Yes.  But that wasn't my point.  My point was that you said "it's just
an option", and I said that we should think hard about which options
we show there and which we don't.  "Important" for the users we have
in mind, sure; but are you saying they expect these UI elements to be
removed?  And if they do, could it be because they don't realize how
useful they can be?

> If Doom Emacs, Spacemacs and the like disable the tool bar and the
> scroll bar, that's an indication that it's something new users might
> want.

We don't need to be bug-for-bug compatible with Spacemacs and DOOM.
Where we think they make a mistake, we should do better.

> That being said, I agree with you that perhaps at this point some of the 
> apropos commands could be mentioned (but not all of them).  Perhaps 
> apropos, apropos-command, apropos-variable, apropos-function?

apropos-documentation is also very important.

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