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Re: Lack of integration in Emacs - it was Re: How to rename files to num

From: Jean Louis
Subject: Re: Lack of integration in Emacs - it was Re: How to rename files to numbers in Eshell?
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 2021 13:15:57 +0300
User-agent: Mutt/2.0.7+183 (3d24855) (2021-05-28)

* Emanuel Berg via Users list for the GNU Emacs text editor 
<> [2021-10-04 06:30]:
> Jean Louis wrote:
> > Yes. As compared to other software Emacs offers opportunity
> > to integrate many features in one place. It helps user
> > operate computer easier. Though it goes through peculiar
> > Emacs way as compared to other software.
> Or other software is peculiar compared to Emacs, Emacs is
> from 1976.

It still remains in old times. We have modern times, new needs. 

Example is "recent files" integration:

- Open "pluma" editor, it will offer "Recent files", related to other
  editors and software which opened "recent files"

- "Gedit" will offer "Recent files" and will see recent files opened
  by "pluma" and other software

- Emacs does not see recent files opened by other editors, but it
  should. Integration in operating systems is there, provisioned,
  prepared, but we don't have it.

Common sense is that features should be integrated within single peace
of software, even that is not so in many. Unspoken from Emacs, it is
not enough integrated if you ask me. It is bunch of features that
don't talk to each other as well but due to Emacs Lisp offer the
opportunity to be re-used, and integrated well within Emacs. Maybe due
to number of features and developers not having collaboration with
other packages we get dis-integrated development in parallel with
integrated development, but the more integration is there, the more
dis-integration is also there.

Example are Emacs email clients, each so much different to each other
and none of them really ready for end users, none may be compared to
Evolution or Thunderbird for example. Old fashioned, hard to use. I
use it all time, but my personal satisfaction is far from what a
modern user in year 2021 can handle. 

Computing enthusiasm is not there any more, it drives me, but not the
people around me. They need simplicity similar like on
Android/Replicant/LineageOS; corporations have money and invest money
to find out what users will find comfortable, Microsoft, Google,
Apple, they find ways to deal with billions of users, and GNU/Linux
desktop, including Emacs is not following the same guidelines. At
least not in the same decade. 

> If you do things for the modern world in your words, e.g.,
> smartphones and "modern smart TVs", I'm not sure Emacs/Elisp
> is the fastest thing, if it is only about speed (not the
> drug). Maybe some other framework exists to control these
> devices, and then another programming language on top of that,
> like Python or Lua, is faster ...

I have not complained on speed.

Emacs is about writing, very powerful, right? 

What people write? For example letters. Do we have straightforward
way? I don't think so. 

A guy in Germany need letter in one way, somebody in US writes letters
in different way. There different formats and norms on how and where
to write the address, the sender's address, how and where to write
subject, greeting, signatures and so on. Still those norms and formats
are pretty much standard in many countries and they could be well
integrated in Emacs, but we are far far from there. 

Helper software in Emacs should recognize locale and offer the letter
norm by the locale, it should ask for address and similar things and
offer to user to write the letter and provide excellent output. Emacs
can do this, there are tools like Groff, LaTeX and Asciidoctor and it
can be done all, but is not there, we don't have integrated
solution. One has to be computer guy, nerd, to write a standard letter
by using Emacs.

LyX does that somewhat better, see attached screenshot.

We have Emacs, supposed to be top writer's tool, but it demands a lot
of learning before a simple letter may be written. Do you see?

I don't say it is much different to LibreOffice, or other text

I just say we are far from integration that a modern human of 21st
century deserves.

> > I wish it would be so well integrated that with simple
> > decisions things get done. Modern smart TVs are programmed
> > that way, you choose a channel and you watch movie. Or put
> > USB flash stick and play video from it. Or watch pictures.
> > Smart phones are prepared that way. Desktop is not well
> > integrated for end users no matter what operating system is
> > there. Emacs is a helper software to operating system,
> > helping users and opening opportunities for users to
> > integrate it more.
> You want to play the movie in Emacs when one inserts the USB
> or what are you talking about?

It wasn't my idea, but when you mention it, yes, Emacs should give to
user upon USB insertion a notification that there are files, "do you
want to open?" -- definitely.

My idea was that Emacs Dired should give me option to open files with
already registered applications. As other applications talk to each
other, they know that video file is to be opened like with MPlayer, or
mpv or VLC or similar, but Emacs doesn't know that. It is one example
of overall lack of integration. Dired is file management. It can open
video files, but user has to configure it. Configuration is really

Then customization in Emacs implies user has to know where is
variable... dired-guess-shell-alist-user and then to enter something
like this:

Regexp: \.gif\'
Lisp expression: "sxiv -a"

That is not integration, not comfortable for users. 

In other file managers you can choose "Open with" and if you choose
like "VLC" you are asked if you wish to remember this, and if you
don't remember, VLC will be offered in the list "Open with" as one of
priorities as it was used previously. And configuration is this
visual, impromptu, comfortable for user. Emacs Dired should know that
video files are opened with special other software most of times. 

Instead, we have different key to launch a file like & and Enter to
edit it in Dired, it could be all one key with a prefix, Enter alone
should know that video files or other types are most probably not
opened by Emacs. 


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