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Re: cc-mode fontification feels random

From: Daniel Colascione
Subject: Re: cc-mode fontification feels random
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2021 12:05:27 -0700
User-agent: AquaMail/1.29.2-1810 (build: 102900008)

On June 9, 2021 11:23:04 AM Alan Mackenzie <acm@muc.de> wrote:

Hello, Eli.

On Tue, Jun 08, 2021 at 21:25:49 +0300, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
From: Daniel Colascione <dancol@dancol.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2021 11:11:21 -0700
Cc: rudalics@gmx.at, emacs-devel@gnu.org, rms@gnu.org, acm@muc.de

The whole point of fontification is to provide visual hints about
the semantic structure of source code. If cc-mode can't do that
reliably, my preference would be for it to not do it at all.
Fontification of a type-using expression shouldn't change if I move
the definition of that type from one file to another.

I think we agree.  Except that for me, it should also not try if it
cannot do it quickly enough, not only reliably enough.

Quickly and reliably enough are desirable things, but in competition
with eachother.  Reliably enough is a lot easier to measure, quickly
enough depends on the machine, the degree of optimisation, and above
all, the user's expectations.

IMHO, we should rely on LSP to figure out what symbols are types, and if
a LSP isn't available, we shouldn't try to guess.

"Shouldn't try to guess" means taking a great deal of
font-lock-type-faces out of CC Mode.  I don't honestly think the end
result would be any better than what we have at the moment.

I think it would be better in fact. The whole point of fontification is to provide visual clues about the function of a word in a buffer. If I can't rely on font lock type face actually distinguishing types from non-types, what's the point? If fontification isn't reliable, it's not syntax highlighting, but instead a kewl rainbow effect.

ISTM we can only correctly do fontification of type references with the help of LSP. Without LSP support, I'd rather we not try to get it right, sometimes get it wrong, and make font-lock-type-face unreliable. (We can correctly fontify declarations and definitions I think.)

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