[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: DEL key doesn't kill mouse-dragged region

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: DEL key doesn't kill mouse-dragged region
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2005 22:45:57 -0800

    Plenty of stuff.  For instance, something that has been discussed
    recently, ^L being pagebreaks: they just figure that out very quickly
    and they make plenty of use of it.

    There is the silly myth that regexps are useless to newbies.  To
    newbies, regexps are just spiced up strings and they get by perfectly
    using plenty of regexps like "auto fill mode".  If that is going to
    find anything matching two or more of these words, now _that_ is going
    to confuse them.  It has been said : "experienced users can always use
    "auto +fill mode" if they want a regexp, but that is forcing unobvious
    tricks on _newbies_, who are the most likely to use regexps without
    any special characters.  Of course, what also confuses them is that in
    Emacs, the regexp "auto fill mode" sometimes matches "auto fill mode"
    even when spread over several lines (which is usually what they really
    want) and sometimes not, depending on the Emacs function they use.

    Apart from that, people can pretty painlessly slowly graduate from
    using exclusively the "auto fill type" regexp to more and more
    complicated stuff, if they feel that need.

    I could give more examples, but I do not want to write a one
    hundred page dissertation on the subject.

    What really confuses newbies (as well as experienced users) is
    inconsistent behavior (such as traditional Emacs behavior and MS
    Windows type behavior more or less randomly mixed together), lack of
    transparency (such as abusive use of invisibility and display
    properties, a very bad problem in Info, leading to surprises while
    yanking or while printing off stuff).  What obviously discourages
    people learning Emacs is too much change in basic behavior from one
    Emacs version to the next.  It makes too much of what they have
    learned useless.

I agree with pretty much everything you said, Luc: 1) ^L is not a big
problem; 2) regexps should not be made less prominent - tell people about
them and they will pick them up easily; 3) inconsistent or incomprehensible
(e.g. invisible, behind-the-back) behavior is a bad thing; 4) too much
change between versions impedes learning (and my customizations!).

I disagree with your all-or-none characterization of the issue. Your
argument doesn't speak to the current question, except in the implied
black-and-white sense of: this is yet another random MS-Windows change that
claims to cater to newbies but will actually hurt them. Making delsel +
transient-mark the default would be a change, but it's not something new or
untried. It doesn't reflect any of your points 1-4, I think.

I realize that you were replying to Eli, who asked for examples beyond the
current question. I agree with your points, but would like to get back to
the original question.

I use delete-selection-mode and transient-mark-mode, and have been doing so
for years (after having used "traditional Emacs behavior" for years). I
think the type-to-replace and DEL-to-do-C-w behavior is superior for newbies
and oldbies alike, besides being closer to what many newbies are used to.

I already argued that it was ubiquitous behaviour outside Emacs; I'll now
add that it's a handy way to work, and having the region visible (active
selection) is also clear and useful. I think that many died-in-the-wool
traditionalists would be using it today if it had been the default behavior
when they learned Emacs (it has been around a long time, but it hasn't been
the default). We are, after all, creatures of habit.

On combining traditional Emacs behavior and MS Windows behavior (or any
other behavior), in general: Yes, mixing things randomly is, as you say,
unlikely to produce any result except confusion. Trying to garner some good
design aspects from other applications (regardless of their origin or domain
of application), and adapt them to this marvelous app, is not just randomly
mixing chemicals. One can always find good ideas elsewhere, and many of
those can be adapted to one's own use.

This particular case, delsel + transient-mark, is pretty tried and true in
the world of Emacs - some of us even consider it "traditional Emacs
behavior" - but don't tell that to the newbies.

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]