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Re: Proposal for an improved `help-for-help'

From: Stefan Kangas
Subject: Re: Proposal for an improved `help-for-help'
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 2021 18:48:00 -0500

Dmitry Gutov <dgutov@yandex.ru> writes:

> On 24.04.2021 16:21, Stefan Kangas wrote:
>> That was 2 weeks ago.  Based on the feedback I received at the time, I
>> have now pushed my final version of this patch to master.
>> There is of course still time for further tweaks before Emacs 28.
>> I invite anyone to report bugs in case they can see any opportunities
>> for improving this.  (Feel free to CC me if you do as I'm currently not
>> subscribed to the bug list.)
> Just checked it out. It's a significant improvement, thank you.
> Two notes:
> - I have 'C-h C-a' rebound to 'apropos' instead of 'apropos-command'
> locally. As a result, help-for-help shows 'M-x apropos-commnad' in the
> first column and (see also 'a') later.
> The regression is that the previous version printed
>    M-x apropos-command PATTERN
> followed by 3 spaces, whereas the new one prints
>    M-x apropos-commandTABSearch for commands (see also a)
> and for some reason TAB is printed with zero width.
> It's a minor thing, to be honest.

I can reproduce that here.

The easiest way of fixing it is to change the separator to "\s\t"
instead of just "\t".  It would be slightly less clean I guess, but
since the screen is modal I suppose most people will never notice the
difference.  WDYT?

> - Not a regression, old problem:
> Instructions say "Type ..., or SPC or DEL to scroll".
> But DEL here is actually <backspace>. If I just press Delete on the
> keyboard, help-for-help exits instead of scrolling.
> And the target audience of help-for-help is probably at least as
> ignorant as myself about the difference between DEL and Delete.

As you say, this is an old problem.  For example `C-h k <backspace>'
here gives a help screen that cryptically says "DEL (translated from
<backspace>)".  I suppose most users have no idea what that means, other
than some vague notion that "DEL is clearly just the same as backspace".

I would prefer that <backspace> would just be printed as such,
everywhere.  I'm guessing there are historical reasons for why this
isn't already the case.  It would be great if we could fix this.

> Perhaps the easiest fix would be to handle Delete same as Backspace here.

Yes, that could alleviate the problem in this particular case.

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