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lynx-dev ^Ve considered harmful
lynx-dev ^Ve considered harmful
Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:04:50 -0600 (CST)
There are a number of reasons against ^Ve becoming "the" way to invoke
1. It isn't logical to escape.
I understand why it was probably natural to choose ^Ve, but that's
more an artifact of the internal machanisms of Lynx key handling than
something that makes sense userinterfacewise. (excuse that word...)
Conceptually, modifying the text in a text area is something you do
"in" the text area (even if it's done in a new way involving an external
editor), it doesn't make much sense to have to "escape" from it first.
2. It overloads ^V further.
The key ^V had (by default) already two meanings:
a) change HTML parsing mode
b) escape from an input field to do non-input-field stuff
The new use adds a third meaning to ^V
c) prefix for a command key that acts on an input field
This is difficult to understand and explain. Sure, we can pretend
that ^Ve together is one command (as some of the messages now do),
not a ^V followed by something, but that looks rather arbitrary
and not consistent.
3. It changes the meaning of 'e' (EDIT).
Now 'e' isn't the good old EDIT command any more, it's kind of a
EDIT used to predictably mean "Edit the file I am viewing" (except in
a directory with DIRED, where it is "Edit the file I have selected").
Now it sometimes means "enter form text in a more convenient way",
quite a different thing. Both involve using an editor, but there
isn't really much more in common.
(Separating the functions could make it easier to have one editor for
one purpose and another for the other purpose, or having an editor
only for form editing but not for general purpose file editing -
potentially very useful for restricted access.)
The changed meaning of 'e' also means that the old EDIT function just
isn't available any more in some situations - when in a textarea or
even (unnecessarily) when in a simple text input field. I just cannot
simply start editing the current HTML source file in the logical way,
i.e. ^Ve, while in a text field. Imagine I am editing such a file,
switching back and forth between viewing and editing with 'e' / quit
editor. And have managed to make my document such that the only
selectable links are text fields. I cannot just go back to editing
now with ^Ve, just the kind of thing meaning b) was introduced for.
Also, I now have to *think* more - instead of 1.have-a-lynx-key-in-mind,
2.see-I'm-in-a-text-field, 3.prefix-it-with-^V, which can become quite
an automatic routine, there's now an additional step to program into my
brain and fingers: 2a.is-it-e?-then-abort-autopilot.
4. ^V is a bad key.
Some folks have problems getting Control-V through to lynx.
Function a) from the list above isn't necessary for normal operation,
it is somewhat of an advanced thing - if you know about it, good for
you, but you can do without. Most folks probably do without.
Function b) isn't necessary for normal operation, again it is an nice
if you know about it, but you don't need it. Sometimes it can be
inconvenient to have to escape from a form in a different way, that's
Function c) is something completely new, something that will be very
useful for everyone filling out text fields, it is likely to become
"the" way to fill out forms.
Having an occasionally problematic key assigned to functions a) or b)
is acceptable in my view. For c), I think it isn't.
I think these points should be discussed before ^Ve becomes too
ingrained in some fingers and minds. I am not sure _how_ to handle
this differently, but there must be a better way, and we can find it.
- lynx-dev ^Ve considered harmful,
Klaus Weide <=