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Re: doc-view.el --- View PDF/PostStript/DVI files in Emacs

From: Bill Clementson
Subject: Re: doc-view.el --- View PDF/PostStript/DVI files in Emacs
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2007 20:10:52 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1 (darwin)

Hi Tassilo,

Tassilo Horn <address@hidden> writes:
> Ok.  Today I made some major changes to make it more convenient to use,
> because doc-view.el is going to be part of GNU Emacs in the near
> future.  The current version is in my Git repository and a patch is sent
> to emacs-devel. :-)

Ok, this is way cool. In fact, it was so cool that I mucked around all
afternoon trying to get git (ouch - bad pun) so that I could get the
latest version of doc-view!

Note for Mac users: save yourself a lot of pain and install
the Macports version of git - I tried:

(a) building from source (no worky)
(b) fink install (I already had fink installed but the git install 
(c) pre-built package at (no worky)
(d) Macports install (which required an install of Macports as I didn't 
    have it on my Mac)

Only the Macports install worked on my Powerbook G4 (and that took
ages to build all the dependencies because Macports builds versions of
the dependencies that work with the package you're installing even if
you have non-Macports versions of the same progs installed and in your
path). Tassilo, please forgive me for all the names I called you this
afternoon for using git! ;-)

But, back to doc-view.el. Did I mention that it is way cool? :-)

There are a few ways that it could probably be made better though:

1. It is slow: It would probably be better to provide an async mode
option. In other words, instead of waiting for the convert process to
complete, let the user view the pages that have been generated and
periodically, have doc-view automatically update the
doc-view-current-files variable with the updated list of pages. In
async mode, some functionality wouldn't be available (for example,
"M->" would only go to the last page that had been generated and "g"
would only allow you to go to a page that had been generated);
however, since frequently the user will be reading the document from
Page 1, that shouldn't be a big problem. Also, having an async option
would provide a more immediate access to the document and the user
might decide to cancel (see #2 below) the remainder of the convert
process once a few pages have been viewed.

2. Cancel key: There should be a key binding to cancel the convert
process and (optionally) view what has been generated so far. 

3. Page count: It would be useful to have a running update of how many
pages have been converted so far in the minibuffer (or maybe the mode
line so that the minibuffer isn't being continually updated and can be
used for other commands).

4. Batch mode: It would be nice to have an option to kick off a batch
background process to do the conversion. For big documents, it isn't
really practical to wait till it's been converted.

5. Dired key: It would be nice to have a defcustom value that would
specify a dired map key that would call doc-view on a file (with a new
doc-view function that doesn't prompt for the file name). This would
make it easier to "browse" pdf files in dired.

Did I mention that doc-view is way cool? :-) 

- Bill

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