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Re: Fire defun by typing keyword

From: Emanuel Berg
Subject: Re: Fire defun by typing keyword
Date: Sat, 09 Nov 2013 22:59:28 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.4 (gnu/linux)

John Bokma <> writes:

>> "Look and feel" is just the final polish on the top
>> surface.
> You're severely mistaken.

Yes, out of context the above might be read as "UIs
aren't important". Of course they are. They are very
important. That is not the point. The point is if you
are into UI design and programming, you should do that
by designing and programming... <drumroll> UIs! - *not*
do it all over (including all underlying software below
the UI), time and again! To what degree that actually
happens I don't know but with all those
<system>-terminal, <system>-screenshot, etc., around,
one is getting suspicious to say the least.

>> If configuration is possible, as it always is for any
>> good application, it could be left entirely to the
>> user.
> A lot of users, including me, prefer that things mostly
> out-of-the box.

I think that is the completely wrong attitude. It
doesn't matter what state you prefer your software to be
in, if it is incomplete, you must fix it, if it has
shortcomings (as you experience it), you must tweak,
configure, etc. Just using stuff as they are, discarding
them when they don't meet your expectations, and so on,
will *never* bring about any deep knowledge. This will
make you a consumer, not a producer.

>> "Look and feel" should *never* be the purpose or
>> reason for programming
> Same mistake as above. There is a huge difference
> between a well-researched user interface and one
> tinkered together by a programmer to scratch his own
> itch. I've read quite a bit about UI design and I still
> make mistakes because I think too often like a
> programmer (or: from a testing point of view).

No, it is you who are making a mistake. I didn't spent
hundreds of hours configuring my applications because I
thought interfaces weren't of value. On the contrary,
if it weren't for Emacs' configurability, and my own
humble efforts, I wouldn't be able to use a computer *at
all*. A couple of years ago, my eyes and fingers were in
such a state I thought about giving up computing
altogether. The Linux VTs, zsh, Emacs, Gnus, and again
my own humble efforts changed all that. So I know of the
value of interfaces, and that is not what I'm speaking
of above.

> A good user interface is one that doesn't need to be
> configured

You should always and everywhere be able to configure

> Maybe you mean "eye candy"? Still, an application that
> looks good gives me pleasure to work with. So in my
> case I prefer some eye candy. For example, "syntax
> highlighting" was, in my experience, frowned upon years
> back; eyecandy, pointless, etc. But I prefer it, and I
> think it makes me more productive.

Yes, again you misread me (that interfaces aren't
important). If you are interested in UI programming,
check out my home page [1] and especially my degree work
(the chapter "Editor Looks") and the home page on Emacs
and Gnus. There are lots of screenshots, too.

>> - of many unpleasant words to describe that, "absurd"
>> is the most pleasant. Reinvention of the (blue) wheel
>> is reinvention of the (red) wheel.
> Our eyes are more sensitive to red, so a red wheel is
> more visible in the dark.

Yes, that's beside the point, but it is interesting
nonetheless. In the degree paper I mentioned, there is a
discussion what emotional things colors do communicate
(in the context of syntax highlighting). If you read it,
please mail me...

> Also, you don't want to drive in a car with the
> "reinvented" wheels of the 18th century, let alone
> with the original invention...

That is not reinvention, that is *development*:
extending, adapting... I'm not opposed to that, at all.


Emanuel Berg, programmer-for-rent. CV, projects, etc at uXu
underground experts united:

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