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Re: Making Emacs more newbie friendly

From: Shawn Betts
Subject: Re: Making Emacs more newbie friendly
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 18:42:19 GMT
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.3

PT <address@hidden> writes:

> On 18 Mar 2005 22:57:17 +0100, Pascal Bourguignon
> <address@hidden>  wrote:
> > PT <address@hidden> writes:
> >
> >> I'm sure I'm not the first to come up with this idea, but I think it
> >> really would help if emacs had a newbie-mode which made it easier for
> >> newbies to get acquainted with it.
> >
> > C-h t
> That's exactly what I meant. The key bindings shown in the tutorial
> are  leftovers from a world when there were no arrow keys on keyboards.
> I have some colleagues using VIM and Emacs and none of them use the
> standard keys for movement, all of them use the arrow keys. I've been
> using emacs for 6+ years, customized it inside out, wrote minor modes
> for  it and yet I too use the arrow keys, not M-f and M-b and such.
> I may sound like a heretic, but I don't think a newbie should learn
> new  keybindings for cursor movement.

I don't really understand your longterm objective. It seems like you
want to make Emacs easier to pick up for people who come from a
Windows background. So without thinking much about it, I can see how
it makes sense to change the keybindings to something they're used
to. But what happens after that?

Emacs is self consistent. Good Emacs programs follow The Emacs
Way. Changing some common keybindings might help newbs to stick with
it a bit longer, but pretty soon they'll hit the next layer. These
newbs still haven't learned how everything works together nor have
they become fimiliar with Emacs key bindings. So do you keep
disfiguring Emacs to hide from them the AWFUL truth? When does it end?
Eventually they'll HAVE learn how to use Emacs the way it was
intended. And I sure hope so! Emacs keybindings are WAY better.

In the end, the newb has to sit down and spend the time. There's no
way around it. Emacs is an AWESOME system. compromising that
awesomeness for cuddly fuzziness will just prolong the inevitable: the
newb will probably abandon Emacs. Like you said (in one of your
posts), its foreign. It takes effort to learn.

If newbs believe that Emacs is better then they'll stick with it long
enough for the sweet, sweet payoff. They have to want to learn
it. dicking with keybindings won't change that. 

Its not Emacs that has to change. Its their minds. Your time is better
spent erecting billboards telling ppl how insanely great Emacs is than
convincing Emacs hackers they should smash holes in their Perfect
System for fools.


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