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[Nano-devel] RFC: the content and aspect of the help lines

From: Benno Schulenberg
Subject: [Nano-devel] RFC: the content and aspect of the help lines
Date: Tue, 04 Mar 2014 20:08:48 +0100

Hi all,

Currently the number of help items shown in the bottom two lines
of a standard nano screen is twelve.  That is quite enough when the
terminal is 80 characters wide.  But nowadays most virtual consoles
are much wider (I think), or at least can be much wider: my virtual
terminals are 125 or 128 characters wide.  To then stick to just
twelve help items is... a bit of a waste.  What I propose is: to let
the number of help items depend on the width of the terminal -- but
not in a strict proportional way, but with an offset: the wider the
screen, the more items, but also the more space each item has.  So
I propose this change:

-#define MAIN_VISIBLE 12
+#define MAIN_VISIBLE (((COLS + 40) / 20) * 2)

For eigthy columns it comes down to 12 items, but for 120 columns
it gives 16 items.  How does that sound?

The other thing is that the default help lines contain the ^Y and ^V
shortcuts for PageUp and PageDown.  I doubt that anyone uses these
key combos -- every keyboard has PageUp and PageDown keys, which work
in every program, so almost everyone will have gotten used to using
these keys for taking large steps in a display.  So... having these
^Y and ^V in the help lines is a waste of useful space.  Also the
^T shortcut is something I think most people will not use, not in
an editor like nano.  So those three positions could be used for
showing more useful things like "M-R Replace", "M-G Go To Line",
"M-W Where's Next"...

Currently on an 80-column terminal the help lines look like this:

^G Get Help  ^O Write Out ^W Where Is  ^Y Prev Page ^K Cut Text  ^C Cur Pos
^X Exit      ^R Read File ^J Justify   ^V Next Page ^U Uncut Text^T To Spell

I suggest to make them look like this:

^G Get Help  ^O Write Out ^W Where Is  ^\ Replace   ^K Cut Text  ^C Position
^X Exit      ^R Read File M-W Next     ^J Justify   ^U Uncut     ^_ Goto Line

This arrangement has the additional advantage that also in tiny nano
(where Next and Justify are not available) related things will stay together
and the help lines would look like this:

^G Get Help  ^O Write Out ^W Where Is  ^K Cut Text  ^C Position  M-\ First Line
^X Exit      ^R Read File ^\ Replace   ^U Uncut     ^_ Goto Line M-/ Last Line

Comments and suggestions welcome.


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