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Re: A package in a league of its own: Helm

From: Nikolai Weibull
Subject: Re: A package in a league of its own: Helm
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2014 19:25:51 +0200

On Mon, Sep 1, 2014 at 6:59 PM, Tu, Do <address@hidden> wrote:

I seem to prefer ido for exactly the opposite reasons:

> I think helm-find-files is much better than stock ido-find-file or even 
> ido-find-file because:
> - It has fuzzy matching by default. You have to install flx to get fuzzy 
> matching in ido.

Ido comes with Emacs, which is a big plus.  Flx can be installed from
marmalade repo.

> - Some people find that Ido horizontal listing is messy, so they create 
> `ido-vertical-mode` for cleaner looking. With Helm, you get this by default 
> with its interface. If you worry the Helm buffer is a bit big, you can always 
> customize its size.

Configuring ido for vertical output requires one line of code:

(setq ido-decorations (quote ("\n" "" "\n" "\n…" "[" "]" " [No match]"
" [Matched]" " [Not readable]" " [Too big]" " [Confirm]")))

> - It has highlighting on candidates depend on types: directory has a color, 
> plain file has a color, executable has a color, shell script has a color.

I don’t select what file I want to open based on what color it has.
If I know what I’m looking for, I don’t need visual aides to find it.
If I don’t know what I’m looking for, I’ll open Dired.

> - Depends on what file type your highlighting candidate is, Helm opens it 
> appropriately. For example, if you RET on a directory, Helm opens dired; if 
> you RET on a file, Helm opens that file. You can also customize the 
> application to open the files. Stock find-file at least can open directory; 
> Ido simply can't.

C-d in Ido opens the currently selected directory.

> - You can open multiple files with helm-find-files by marking with C-SPC and 
> press RET. If you want to everything at current directory, you can use M-a to 
> mark all then RET. You can even use wildcard expression like stock find-file

If I want to work on multiple files at once, Dired does that for me.

> - Helm has a list of actions to apply on your files: checksum file, open file 
> externally, switch to eshell, grep, diff...

Again, Dired helps me out here.

> - Helm is compatible with both Linux and Windows path. Ido can't; you have to 
> drop into stock find-file.

I’m not sure if this is actually true, but you can always use slash as
a path separator on Windows if Ido can’t handle backslash (which I
wouldn’t hold against it).

My overall feeling when I looked at Helm when this thread appeared was
that there’s already packages that do what Helm does that come with
Emacs: Dired, Ibuffer, and Ido.  Sure, Helm can interface with
Delicious, my web browser, and so on, and if that’s something you want
to do, then Helm is great, but for me, Helm is trying to sell me stuff
that I simply don’t need or want.

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