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Re: [PATCH] Add mode for automatically unhiding emphasis markers in the

From: Gustavo Barros
Subject: Re: [PATCH] Add mode for automatically unhiding emphasis markers in the current region
Date: Sun, 05 Jul 2020 17:49:44 -0300
User-agent: mu4e 1.4.10; emacs 27.0.91

Hi Nicolas,
Hi All,

On Sun, 05 Jul 2020 at 07:50, Nicolas Goaziou <mail@nicolasgoaziou.fr> wrote:

The problem is not your implementation, really. It's just that I don't
think it should be the _built-in_ way to solve emphasis management. IOW,
we shouldn't need to activate a minor mode to make that management
tolerable in the first place.

However, I agree that it makes senses as an extension, in the same vein
as `org-fragtog` for LaTeX fragments.


But, really, I think an option like `org-hide-emphasis-markers' is
a one-off toggle. Having to, in a way, switch regularly between two
values is sub-optimal.

I don't think I have anything to add to the previous discussion on this matter, and I know you took it into consideration. Also, I'm well aware that sometimes a user interested in a feature lacks a more general perspective a maintainer has. So I take your position here stems from one such general design choices, and I understand and respect it.

Here it is.

The main command is `org-emphasis'. It emphasizes the minimal possible
area around point, or region. If there's already an emphasis object of
the desired type around point or region, it extends it forward instead.
With a prefix argument, it removes the emphasis.

Interactively, the command asks for the type of emphasis to use, but
I suggest to use dedicated commands instead. Thus, I added a key-binding
for each of the six emphasis types. For example, for bold, use

      `M-o *'    or    `M-o M-*'

There are equivalent commands for underline (`M-o _` or `M-o M-_'), and
so on.

Note there, even though I polished it, there are probably some glitches left, but it works well enough to give an idea. Tests are missing, too.

Please evaluate the following code to try it.

This is really, really nice. Certainly a major improvement in the way `org-emphasize' works. I specially like you've chosen to make it act on the element around point, that you added the possibility of increasing this scope with repetition, and that you made the functions commands we can bind.

If I may, I'd like to add comments and report tests, for your consideration, in the spirit of trying to help you polish the approach.

One low hanging fruit, which you probably have already considered, is to use a transient keymap to ease the repetition of the emphasis commands. So that we could type `M-o * * * *' to emphasize four words, instead of `M-o * M-o * M-o * M-o *'. Even better if in this keymap we could call a command, bound e.g. to `-', to go back one step in case we have gone too far in the repetition. This is interesting in itself, but specially so given a number of the markers are shift-keys, which means the first and the second part of the bindings use different modifiers, making the repetition quite "athletic" (I suppose we could use "M-O", but still).

A second thing is regarding the removal of the markers. I think there is space to simplify this further and make it even more convenient. As things are, we have six different bindings to remove an emphasis marker around point. Of course, when adding emphasis, we have to specify which one we want, but when removing it, the markers are already there and we know what is the emphasis around point, and can go with a single command, e.g. `org-remove-emphasis', and a single binding, e.g. `M-o r/M-r', without the cognitive load of having to identify visually which is the marker, to call the correct command to remove it. The only case not covered by this would be if we have nested emphasis of different types and want to remove the outer one. I'd say this is rare enough to leave uncovered in exchange for the simplification of 6 to 1 commands for emphasis removal. True, this seventh command could just be added, and leave the current six as they are, but I do have a suggestion for another use of the prefix, which see. (Perhaps an argument similar to the one being made here for removal could be made for extending emphasis, but I'm not sure if with the same relevance).

Still regarding emphasis removal, I see two things one might want when "removing" emphasis: one is to remove the whole emphasis around point, the other is to remove part of an existing emphasized region, doing the analogous of what your six emphasis commands do, but removing emphasis one word at a time. If this distinction is deemed useful and worth implementing, how about `org-remove-emphasis' with no prefix doing the first, and with prefix doing the second?

A third thing I think is worth considering is the direction of extension, given that `org-emphasize' also works by extending an existing emphasized region. Two things here: should one be able to control the direction the expansion occurs? what should be the preferred (or only) expansion direction? I'd say the first one would be really nice, and I'd suggest using the prefix to the six emphasis commands to achieve it ("prefix changes the default direction"). As to the second, I'd go for preferring a backwards expansion, rather than a forwards one. My reasoning here is that one would be adding emphasis either while skimming/navigating through an existing document, in which case one has more freedom in point placement, or when one is typing, in which case moving point implies that we must get back to where we were before continuing typing. So for this "while typing" situation a backward expansion would be much more useful, while for the case of "adding emphasis to existing text" the direction would be less important. I take that's the reason `flyspell' has `flyspell-auto-correct-previous-word' while it does not have a "next" equivalent, and why `flyspell-correct' (the package) defaults to correcting the previous misspelling.

A fourth issue is point placement after the emphasis is added. `org-emphasis' takes a stance here and places point within the emphasis. I do agree with this option, but it is still true that sometimes, one might want or need otherwise. This, of course, gets more interesting when `org-hide-emphasis-markers' is t. And I actually think this issue is still more general. One thing is to "add emphasis markers to existing text", another is "adding text around existing emphasis markers". The first one is superbly dealt with by this implementation of `org-emphasize', the second one, as far as I can see, not equally so.

Finally, as I took it for a spin, I might as well report some cases which called my attention. I know you said this isn't ready yet, but I hope it is still useful. In the examples, '|' represents point, and '·' space.

1) When point is at the right-edge of a word, the emphasis command will either emphasize the following word, if there is one before eol, or error with "Nothing to emphasize in the region" even though there is no active region. If there is only whitespace between point and eol the emphasis command will issue the same error and move point to eol. Illustrations:

Starting from:

#+begin_src org

`M-o *' results in:

#+begin_src org

(note point has moved)

Starting from:

#+begin_src org

`M-o *' errors with "Nothing to emphasize in the region".

Starting from:

#+begin_src org

`M-o *' errors with "Nothing to emphasize in the region" and moves point to:

#+begin_src org

I suggest it would make sense, when at a word right boundary, to emphasize the immediately preceding word rather than the next one. Though this is probably somewhat a matter of preference, I'd argue it is more intuitive. On the other hand, the last case, where the command issues an error, does not apply emphasis and moves point, is clearly unexpected behavior (it should at least not move point).

2) When point is within whitespace, with no "word" at point, it still emphasizes the next word, if there is one. Illustration:

Starting from:

#+begin_src org

`M-o *' results in:

#+begin_src org

(note point has moved)

I would expect to get instead:

#+begin_src org

Starting from an empty line (or a "whitespace only" line):

#+begin_src org

We get error "Cannot emphasize contents here". But why not?

#+begin_src org

And be able to insert some content "to be bold".

Indeed, if the right boundary logic above is used, and this within whitespace one is also used, then point never needs to move when applying emphasis "around point", which seems sensible to me. (I haven't given proper thought on what to do with point/region when region is active though.) Also, as far as I can tell, it would also never fall back to "Nothing to emphasize in the region", which indeed is somewhat strange when no region is active. The general idea is, if no "minimal area around region or point" can be identified, place the markers around point, instead of returning error.

That said, I reiterate I really consider this revamping of `org-emphasize' a major improvement, and a very welcome one. And I thank you very much for that. My comments here are just offered for your consideration and use as you see fit, in the hope they might be useful. And I'm looking forward to see this reach distribution.


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