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bug#8297: Request: Better Emacs self-documentation for customization

From: Florian Beck
Subject: bug#8297: Request: Better Emacs self-documentation for customization
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 09:59:37 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv: Gecko/20110223 Thunderbird/3.1.8

On 03/21/2011 11:00 PM, Stefan Monnier wrote:

Note that for your case, another option is to use a defadvice, and
indeed defadvice should also add a hyperlink to the advice.

Right. So that one is not so urgent. It is only that I already have quite some redefined functions (from the emacs source or from third-party packages) and finding the original definition can be surprisingly difficult.

  - 'describe-variable', on the other hand, remembers the original
definition, but doesn't remember the place where I changed the value.

That might turn out to be more difficult to track, but at least for some
simple cases (e.g. when the vlue is changed via `custom' functions rather
than via `setq') that should definitely be doable.  If the var was set
via `setq' it's more difficult since `setq' is a very low-level
primitive that needs to run fast.

Understood. Again, unfortunatly `setq' is what I have. Perhaps an old-fashioned but definitly valid way of customizing.

But maybe we could somehow handle
`setq' outside of functions in a special way (these shouldn't impact
performance since they can't be in loops).

That would be great indeed.

  - `describe-key' only provides a link to the function, not to the place the
key was defined.

That's also more difficult because OT1H `define-key' does not get much
information (it can check load-file-name, but it doesn't know the line
number, nor the name of the map it receives and neither does it know
reliably what the key description looks like in the source file, so it's
hard to do a regexp-search), and OTOH there's no place currently to
store that information, tho I guess we could keep it in some side

This one, on the other hand, is a major annoyance. Say, I use `global-set-key' to customize a key binding. I continue working with my emacs session, maybe for day. But the next time I start emacs, the binding is overwritten, because I defined the same key in some other file.

Obviously, this is not easy, because evaluations don't necessarily
have a fixed place and key bindings can be defined in many ways. Regardless,
I think this is something on which Emacs could improve.

Agreed.  It's not high on my todo list, but I'll be happy to take
patches for those.  For defadvice it should be pretty easy, and for
function re-definitions it shouldn't be too hard either.


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