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Re: Making Emacs more newbie friendly

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Making Emacs more newbie friendly
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 18:05:18 +0200

> From: PT <address@hidden>
> Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 15:52:33 +0100
> By arrow keys I also mean text selection with shift+arrow keys, etc. It is  
> pretty standard in modern systems, so it should be turned on by default.

It would be unthinkable to turn them on by default, because people who
are fast touch typists hold Shift while moving the cursor inside
upper-case text.  Emacs makes a point of being friendly to fast

> The newbies I met usually used a "visual" editor before. Like SlickEdit,  
> Eclipse or Visual Studio.
> Compared to these editors Emacs is very strange the first time. I think  
> the default behavior of emacs should be more similar to these editors to  
> make the initial transition easier.

Since the differences are so large, it's hard to make Emacs similar
without changing the entire UI.

Btw, based on my colleagues' experience, the transition from Visual
Studio and its ilk to Emacs is not so hard.  I guess we have different

> For example, F2 which is a single-key binding controls two column mode if  
> I'm not mistaken while save-buffer which is frequent operation is on C-x  
> C-s. Dees it make sense from a newbie's point of view? Which feature will  
> he use more frequently?
> C-o would be nice for opening a file, but C-x C-f? Now that's a bit  
> strange if I'm new to Emacs.

The idea in Emacs is that, since newbies mostly use the menu bar, we
show the key bindings there.  Later, when they switch to keyboard mode
of operation as their prime, they have already seen the key bindings.

This might be not the ideal setup, but given the vastly different
keybindings, how can we do better?

> At least that's what the newbies tell me. ("Emacs? You have to know a lot  
> of long key combinations to use it. Too complicated.")

Whoever says that should be pointed to the menus.  I'd expect newbies
to know that alredy, and use the menus (and most modern computer users
are menu-bar kind of people anyway).

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