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Re: Help Line Text

From: address@hidden
Subject: Re: Help Line Text
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2020 17:18:30 +0000 (UTC)

(Please CC me into replies; I am not subscribed to the mailing list.)

Dear all,

According to line 826: 

	/* Disallow rebinding ^[ and frequent escape-sequence starter "Esc [". */

the escape key cannot be rebound. Is there any way to make a workaround for this? I would like to bind the escape key to "Exit".

I understand Micro might have a more "standard" keymap by default, but it is not in my distro's repos, not to mention that it is written in Go, which I do not like. I really enjoy the aesthetic and simplicity of GNU nano, especially the help lines. Thank you for showing it, though.

I wish customising the help lines was more flexible. I apologise if I come off as rude here, as I appreciate very much all the work that has been put into GNU nano over the years, but I personally think the keymap and help lines need a revamp, or a way to be more easily customised.

Here, Zach also wishes to reorder the commands in the help lines. Do others feel the same way?

I don't want to even try and mess with the history of GNU nano; starting as a Pico clone was a noble goal and GNU nano is still my favourite text editor, to this day. However, inheriting its keymap made sense almost twenty years ago, but I dare say it seems almost vestigial in 2020 and beyond.

Don't get me wrong; if you're proficient with GNU nano with its default keymap, then brilliant! I don't to mess with that, but I feel that, in the present year, striving for user-friendliness means using (or at least having the option to use) a more "normal" keymap. Perhaps, even by default.

I understand the .nanorc file is here, and works brilliantly for rebinding keys and setting options. That works very well, but it is a faff to have to modify a translation file to change the prompts to match your keybindings. It can be quite jarring to see a keymap and prompts which do not match.

Perhaps the .nanorc file could have a "set pico" or "set modern" sort of thing, to switch between the default Pico style, or a more modern style, which would change the text in the helplines and the shortcuts to match:

By this, I mean ^S for "Save as", ^C for "Copy", and so on.

The sample .nanorc file already has a "more "usual"" premade keymap at the bottom, so why not the prompts to match?

I think GNU nano would benefit from:

- A way to reorder help line prompts.
- A way to display a custom number of help lines.
- A way to change help line prompts to match rebound shortcuts.
- A .nanorc file option such as "set modern" to switch between a more modern style, and the default Pico style (implied "set pico" option).

This would, amongst other benefits:

- Make GNU nano more user friendly by offering a more "usual" keymap and help line prompts to match.
- Allow GNU nano to become more customisable, and flexible, thus becoming more accessible to more people.
- Make editing help line prompts easier than faffing around with a translation file.
- Allow GNU nano to have the option to become more "modernised" and "usual".

Just to reiterate, I don't want to even try and mess with GNU nano's history or default state, but I think that it should become more flexible and customisable, to allow it to become more user-friendly and accessible. :)

Nonetheless, I think that one or two prompts could still be neatened up a bit, like changing "Paste Text" to just "Text", and so on.

Maybe some commands could be shuffled around, as Zach suggested?

Please correct me if I am wrong with anything here.

Thank you very much, indeed.
Have a great day!


On Sat, 22 Feb 2020 at 5:15 am, Zach DeCook
<address@hidden> wrote:
On February 21, 2020 12:55:29 PM EST, "address@hidden" <address@hidden> wrote:
>By the way, what exactly do I need to type into the .nanorc file to
>rebind something to the escape key?

I think escape might not be bindable.

On Fri, 21 Feb 2020 at 3:39 pm, Benno Schulenberg<address@hidden>
>>In which order would you prefer to see the shortcuts in the help lines?
>>And for whom?  How would this be helpful?
On February 21, 2020 12:55:29 PM EST, "address@hidden" <address@hidden> wrote:

>As for reordering the shortcuts and perhaps displaying different ones
>in different orders in the help lines, I thought it would be nice to
>only display the shortcuts I rarely use there.

I think it would be best to display the shortcuts that are used the most often. Nano's reputation is one of user-friendliness, after all.
a contemporary of nano, shows the following shortcuts:

^Q Quit, ^S Save, ^O Open, ^G Help, ^E Command Bar, ^K Cut Line
^F Find, ^Z Undo, ^Y Redo, ^A Select All, ^D Duplicate Line, ^T New Tab

With the exception of 'new tab', 'command bar', 'select all', and 'duplicate line', this set would be good to move up in nano. (Note that ^S here is save, and not 'writeout' -- which is more commonly called 'save as'). I also recommend showing copy and paste.

(Regarding nano's current top commands, I've never once intentionally used the shortcut for replace, or justify. I use nano as my primary text editor for writing code.)

Which leads to the next part: how can we remember how to trigger 'spellcheck' or 'linter' or the other commands that we'll never memorize the shortcut for?

Currently, I press `^G /`, then start typing the command's name, and after seeing it, Q then trigger the shortcut.
Most OS's offer a shortcut to search thru menu items. Github's popular Atom editor provides the 'command pallette' (shift control p) to search through commands.
Micro has the 'command bar' (annoyingly mapped to ^E, IMO) which offers tab completion, so I can run the linter with `^E li <TAB> <ENTER>`.


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