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Re: [h-e-w] Newbie - initial config

From: David Vanderschel
Subject: Re: [h-e-w] Newbie - initial config
Date: 09 Mar 2009 17:16:12 -0600

On Monday, March 09, "Drew Adams" <address@hidden> wrote:
>Welcome to Emacs, Tomas!

I was very favorably impressed by Drew's response to
Tomas.  I believe that it would be a good contribution
to the Wiki, or at least to a FAQ somewhere.  It seems
to me a shame that this discussion is not also
appearing in

>> 4. On Windows, moving by words places point at the
>>    beginning of the word regardless of direction of
>>    movement. Emacs' behavior is confusing for me. This
>>    applies for paragraphs and other objects too.

>Yes, you will find lots of company in that. I, for
>one, think it's worth getting used to. But I'm sure
>you can find lots of contributed code on the wiki
>that will change Emacs default behavior to be more
>like what you expect in this regard.

I made the additions many years ago.  With word
motion, I sometimes want to stop between words and
sometimes on their beginnings; so I have _both_ kinds
of word motion bound to convenient key combinations in
my emacs.  (I use the left and right arrow keys with
the Control and Meta modifiers.)  This does not stop
with words either.  I have the start-of/end-of
distinction for sentences and paragraphs as well.
(All on arrow keys, plus page motion there as well.)
I am using both sorts of motion for all the object
types on a very regular basis.  I have certainly heard
folks saying they want one or the other; but I have
not heard of anyone else systemizing the availability
of both sorts of motion.  (Maybe most folks are
accustomed to just pointing with their mouse (or other
pointing device) in most cases.  I mostly do that only
when going far.)

>My advice on key customization in general is to try
>the default Emacs behavior for a while, giving it a
>chance, before you try changing it to fit what you
>might expect or are already used to. There's time
>enough to do that, if you really want to. But you'll
>probably find after a while that many of the default
>key bindings have a certain amount of logic behind

This is excellent advice.  I switched over to Emacs in
the mid 80s.  It was on a Sun Workstation.  I had been
using a pretty good plain text editor called EDT from
Digital Equipment Corporation.  (I had also had some
exposure to Gosling Emacs - a favorable experience.)
Emacs has an emulator package for EDT, so I figured
that would be the easiest way to go.  And it works!
Just fine.  However, as things went along and as I
became much more familiar with the inner workings of
Emacs, the advantages of the default key bindings
became more clear to me.  Indeed, I started using some
of them.  Then, in the mid 90s, there was a period of
a couple years during which Emacs and I became
'estranged'.  When I returned to Emacs, I decided it
was time to dump the EDT emulator.  I did so, and I
have never regretted it.

Now I would advance the opinion that, as far as
adapting to Emacs's default key-bindings is concerned,
the sooner the better.  However, this does not rule
out adding custom bindings for other functions that
one frequently finds useful (like my variety of
motions bound to arrow keys).  (Using a VI emulator
for Emacs strikes me personally as a 'perversion' of
Emacs.  But then, I always hated VI; and, fortunately,
I never had to use it enough to become adept at it.)

(I think the _only_ holdover key binding I have from
EDT is a custom binding for M-d:

    M-d runs the command dv-kill-word-forward
       which is an interactive compiled Lisp 
       function in `d:/dv/lisp/eemacs.elc'.
    (dv-kill-word-forward N)

    Kill up to next space-delimited word.

The holdover is only for the function, not the
binding.  The kill-word of Emacs (bound by default to
M-d) only kills the "kill" part of "kill-word" (for
example).  That is so rarely what I want, that I did
replace the default binding for kill-word.
"space-delimited word" is not exactly a direct Emacs
concept, so I had to define it for my own fairly
frequent use when I dumped the EDT emulator.  Indeed,
the shift modifier makes my four word-motion functions
be based on space-delimited 'words' instead of the
regular Emacs concept of word delimiters.  (In the
rare case when I really do want Emacs's version of
kill-word, I just do forward-word followed by
backward-kill-word.  Doing that has not been a pain
for me because it happens so infrequently.))

  David V.

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