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RE: Default value of next-error-highlight is too small

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Default value of next-error-highlight is too small
Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 13:23:43 -0700

    >     > Would you object if it were 2 seconds?
    >     Yes.
    >     > If so, why?
    >     Because the overlay stays put for a prolonged time and
    >     distracts my attention.

It's _supposed_ to attract your attention, to the hit position.

You might not like the feature, and choose not to use it, but AFAIK, that's
the idea: to help you find the hit position by attracting your attention to

Note, as I mentioned, there are two kinds of highlighting: 1) the text
matching the grep (e.g.) expression and 2) the entire hit line. It is
especially for #1 that it's important to let the period be long enough to
see what text was matched at that occurrence.

I also mentioned that these two highlights (depending on where you click the
mouse, for instance) don't seem to be documented. I hope that doc bug gets

    > So customize it to a shorter time or eliminate it altogether
    > in your setup. That's what customization is for.

    This goes both ways: you could customize it in your setup, instead of
    suggesting to change the defaults.  Please let this discussion be

Sure; I've already done that, as I mentioned (= t). My point was that if the
period is too short, then people won't know that the option exists at all,
to customize it. That's what happened to me.

The idea is to be fair to all users, not to you vs me. In order to help
users know about this option, the default value should _show_ the
highlighting long enough for users to perceive it.

    > I've mentioned more than once that the 0.1 second period
    > means that the
    > highlighting is not even noticeable on my system (Windows
    > XP). Invisible.
    > Nothing. Imperceptible. I didn't even know that this highlighting was
    > available to customize.

    I don't know why; I have an XP system as well, as the highlighting is
    clearly perceptible.  Does that happen for you with "emacs -Q" as

Yes. 0.1 seconds is very short. That is my point.

    > If the default highlighting is imperceptible, then users will
    > not know about
    > it to increase the period length (to actually use the highlighting
    > feature!).

    I agree, but let's first establish how many users have the same
    problem as you do.  I'd imagine at least the person who introduced the
    default value for this variable did see the highlighting.

    How about asking on emacs-devel about user experience?

How about picking a period that is pretty sure to be long enough that people
will be able to spot the highlighted text? I'd say that 1 sec would be a
minimum for that.

In any case, the default value just needs to be long enough that everyone
will spot the highlighting; it doesn't need to be the optimal period for
most people, whatever that might be and however you might want to determine
that. It is more important that the highlighting be apparent for all than it
is to get the exact period right. Users can customize the period, but they
first need to know the highlighting option exists.

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