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Re: Android port of Emacs

From: Arsen Arsenović
Subject: Re: Android port of Emacs
Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2023 11:31:30 +0200

Po Lu <luangruo@yahoo.com> writes:

>> Today I tried your port again for about an hour. It is obvious that you
>> use a hardware keyboard ;-) 
> Everyone seems to think that, but I don't.

To back Po up here, the port is usable with software keyboards too IMO.
Perhaps the only thing that's missing is an (optional) way to input
modifiers without needing keyboards to support them directly, similar to
Termux, and to bring up the keyboard at any point, even when in RO text.
It is possible that these features exist and that I missed them, though.

It was immediately clear to me, however, that there won't be much direct
translation from a desktop workflow to Android, so I skipped directly to
tweaking various GUI elements, which might be why I can't sympathize
with the usability assessment some people had.  This will be some work
for users and developers of Emacs and packages for Emacs in the long
run, to provide a more pointer-approachable UI, however.

I think that, in general, this port shows Emacs as an organizer and note
taker more than as a programming tool, so the lowered accessibility to
advanced text entry shouldn't be too grave, though both are possible,
especially with a hardware keyboard.

What's also missing is the Info viewer reflowing to fill the screen, but
this is a fault in the Info format rather than Emacs.  This has been the
case for a long time but the form-factor on Android is somewhat novel,
so it was never that noticeable.

I've written some code already that uses the Widget library to get a
competent workflow for note-taking and capturing (though I've not
completed this yet), and from my testing, the port (even as it was some
months ago) can be used quite competently.

Overall, I think that the port shows great potential, and can't
sympathize with the reasons for its omission, especially for a system
which isn't always nonfree, as Po seems to be willing to maintain it
Arsen Arsenović

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