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Re: make undo operate as in (no flames please) vim

From: Samuel Wales
Subject: Re: make undo operate as in (no flames please) vim
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2009 11:16:42 -0700

IMO (this whole post is IMO) the single most confusing aspect of emacs
in practice for old and new users alike -- although some people are
amazingly not at all confused by it -- is undo.

More generally, many commands have no good provision for overshooting.
 This applies to mark cycling, global mark cycling, and many other
things.  Most of them provide a ring instead of forward and backward
commands.  But undo provides a mechanism that is simple in principle
but impossible (for probably the vast majority of users) in practice.
And that's the "just undo the undo" problem.

In other words, there are many commands that don't allow you to go
forward if you overshoot going backward.

In all cases, I believe that forward and backward commands would be
easier for most users.

(Drew, you're probably itching to mention Icicles here :), but I'm
referring to vanilla emacs here, and want to talk about that only,
since not everybody uses Icicles.  I still don't, for several reasons,
despite its nice aspects.)

Consider the arrow keys.  To go forward, (or down), you just press the
key.  You are *not* asked to press backward (or up) until it wraps
around, as you are with the mark ring and the global mark ring.

And you *not* asked to "just go backward on the backward" by pressing
the key until you overshoot, then pressing another key, then pressing
the key again a bunch of times until you undo the overshoot.

You just press the key!

redo.el corrupts the buffer.  It is not suitable to include in emacs
until that bug is fixed.

But I think that emacs would be greatly improved if all current and
future movement commands like mark ring, global mark ring, and undo
list, had forward and backward.

This, I think, would please old and new users alike.

Except for the supermen who have no problem using undo the way it is.  :)

For personal and corporate gain, myalgic encephalomyelitis denialists
are knowingly causing massive suffering and 25-years-early death by
grossly corrupting science.

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