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[Nano-devel] More nano suggestions

From: Andrew Ho
Subject: [Nano-devel] More nano suggestions
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2002 10:27:14 -0800 (PST)


Hey, thanks for the quick and pleasant response about the column numbering
thing! That was awesome. So, the TODO in the nano distribution is pretty
sparse and I didn't notice a HACKING file, so I thought I'd pass on my
list of suggestions, in order of how much I desire them:

    * Bracket flashing as well as bracket matching (i.e., when you type
      a closing bracket, brace, or parenthesis, the opening one flashes
      briefly. If it is off the screen, display a message in the status
      bar (similar to what emacs does).

    * Unix pipe functionality. ^| to pipe the entire file through an
      external filter; even cooler, just as ^O with a selection
      should save just the selection to an external file, ^| pipes just
      the selection to an external filter. By the way you may want to
      consider standardizing the command-works-on-selection behavior
      for other actions (spell check selection for example) if it is
      not already that way.

    * Rebindable keys. This would likely be a .nanorc only feature, to
      allow arbitrary binding of key sequences to functions. An emacs
      user for example could bind M-Y to page up (likely, stealing the
      emacs names for actions would be useful, too). Even better, allow
      macros to be created, binding a key sequence to multiple existing
      key sequences. Along with pipe to selection, this forms a way to
      arbitrarily put new functionality in nano simply by writing a
      script and defining a macro in your .nanorc.

    * Extended regex search and replace using PCRE semantics. It would
      be awesome to be able to search for "sub foo_(.+) " and replace
      with "sub bar_$1 " for example. In case you are not familiar PCRE
      is the Perl Compatible Regular Expressions library by Philip Hazel,
      used by many open-source projects (

My original plan was to hack the first two features into pico itself, and
actually I finished hacking parenthesis matching (at the time, I was
working with a web application server which used Guile scheme as a
scripting language, so this was super important). The pico source was
messy enough that I didn't think the other two were easily doable. nano
seems way easier to hack, plus more satisfying since the changes could
actually get included rather than staying as patches.

Is there a list somewhere of requested-but-not-yet-accepted features like
the above? I couldn't find one on the website. Also, is there a procedure
for submitting patches for proposed features as proof of concept?



'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves                            Andrew Ho
 Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.                     address@hidden
 All mimsy were the borogoves,
 And the mome raths outgrabe.   

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