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Re: org-sort-entries sorting by top-level with first entry at bob

From: Samuel Wales
Subject: Re: org-sort-entries sorting by top-level with first entry at bob
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2020 13:43:36 -0700

i always have everyting under a top level, so taht files are trees not
forests and org can work treeishly even at toplevel.  but to not use
the mark, typically you supply point-min and point-max to some
function.  major changes to o-s-r migth not be needed, merely that.

On 10/30/20, Gustavo Barros <gusbrs.2016@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi All,
> `org-sort-entries' provides no easy way to sort by top-level when the
> first entry is at the beginning of buffer.  This is true for both
> interactive and non-interactive uses of the function, but a little more
> inconvenient in the latter case.
> Indeed, `org-sort-entries', when deciding what to sort, first tests for
> `org-region-active-p', then `org-at-heading-p' (or if after a heading),
> failing those tests, it falls back to top-level sorting.  However, if
> the first heading is at the beginning of buffer and we want to sort by
> top-level, we'll never get to the fall back case, because
> `org-at-heading-p' will return non-nil, and the children of the first
> entry will be sorted instead.
> Not an ECM, just an use case with the situation at hand.  Consider a
> buffer with contents:
> #+begin_src org
> ,* B Foo
> ,** B Baz
> ,** A Foo
> ,* A Bar
> #+end_src
> How to sort by top-level?
> The currently existing alternative is to `mark-whole-buffer', and let
> `org-sort-entries' sort by region.  While this is reasonable in the
> interactive case, it is less so if `org-sort-entries' is being called in
> code.  Using `mark-whole-buffer' in your code will grant you a nice
> compiler warning and pretending you don't use it by doing the same thing
> yourself is explicitly advised against in its docstring: "it is usually
> a mistake for a Lisp function to use any subroutine that uses or sets
> the mark".  Behind the scenes, Org is using `use-region-p', which means
> the region must not only exist but transient-mark-mode must be on and
> the mark must be active.  It can be made to work, of course, but it is
> clearly less than ideal.  Either way, currently the only way to ensure
> that sorting is done by top-level when you don't know whether there is
> something before the first heading (including possible narrowing) is to
> rely on the region case.
> What to do with it is somewhat tricky, though.  My first thought was to
> test if we are actually looking at a heading regexp, and sort on the
> heading's level in this case.  But, on second thought, I believe this is
> not a good idea, because it will conflict with current and expected
> behavior for speed-keys, in particular.  Perhaps test if point is at
> beginning of buffer, and handle this case specially?
> Best regards,
> Gustavo.

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