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Re: Help Line Text

From: Benno Schulenberg
Subject: Re: Help Line Text
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2020 16:39:23 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/68.4.1

Hello Alan,

[CC'ing you in case you're not subscribed.  Please answer only to the list.]

Op 21-02-2020 om 02:38 schreef address@hidden:
> Is it possible to change the text in the two help lines at the bottom of the 
> screen?

There is a way, but it's not straightforward.  Nano is internationalized,
so almost all of its messages can be translated.  This translation mechanism
also allows to simply reword nano's texts.  But... it's quite a bit of work.

First you must find out where your nano looks for its MO file. Run
'strace nano 2>TRAIL' and exit right away.  Then 'grep TRAIL'.
The first path where it looks for the file probably gives an
ENOENT.  Then that is where you want to create a new MO file.

Then get nano's current POT file:

Rename that file to something like 'customized-nano.en.po'.
Then open the file with nano and search for the "Read File" msgid.
Change the corresponding msgstr (which is empty), to "Open".
Search for and change all other strings you want to change.
Then run: 'msgfmt -cv customized-nano.en.po'.  This produces
a file.  Then you 'sudo cp -v' this
to the full path that the 'grep TRAIL' showed first,
probably something like:

When you then run nano, all the changes you made should be

> [...] not to mention that GNU nano is a text editor, so it
> is a bit redundant to mention that the shortcut will cut/paste "Text".

Those were inherited from Pico: for nearly twenty years, nano
has more or less faithfully copied the exact look of Pico.
But I agree that those texts could be shortened/improved.

> Perhaps the
> help line text could be changed in the .nanorc file in the future (feature 
> request)?

No.  That is too niche.  You are the first to ask for this.
And, for people that really want this, there is already a
mechanism for this: using the translation MO files.

> Please allow me to get ahead of myself for a minute, but could a settings menu
> inside nano be a good idea?

It would probably look cool.  But...  No.  A preferences or settings menu
is more something for a graphical program.  Nano is a command-line tool.

> Would such a thing be implementable with ncurses,


> and be an interface to modify the .nanorc file?

There is already an interface for modifying .nanorc file: nano itself.  :)
That is what nano is mainly used for: to make quick edits to config files.

> Perhaps changing exactly what appears
> in the help lines could be a nice feature, and maybe even reordering the
> shortcuts in the help lines could be useful?

In which order would you prefer to see the shortcuts in the help lines?
And for whom?  How would this be helpful?


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