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

From: Benno Schulenberg
Subject: Re: [Nano-devel] RFC: the content and aspect of the help lines
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 20:35:47 +0100

On Tue, Mar 4, 2014, at 20:38, Chris Allegretta wrote:
> On 3/4/14, Benno Schulenberg <address@hidden> wrote:
> > 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
> I use these keys (^Y/^V) exclusively.  I think someone who wants to do
> a more advanced function and cant remember the commands should be able
> to look in the help menu.

I agree that more advanced and seldom-used functions are material
that should be looked up in a help text.  The help lines should show
commands that are absolutely necessary to operate the program
(like ^G and ^X and ^O), that are well-nigh indispensable (like ^W
and ^K and ^U), and then... well, things that are useful and cannot
be done in another way.  The help lines don't show ^A and ^E either,
most likely because most people will use Home and End, so why ^Y
and ^V?  Also, as soon as you do a ^G, then ^Y and ^V will be right
there in the help lines -- anyone with a little sense will guess that
they will most likely work in the editor itself too.

So, if there are only twelve items, and six are already taken, what to
display for the other six?  I would choose Mark for specialness, Replace
for usefulness, Read File for symmetry, Undo and Redo for usefulness,
and then Where's Next or Current Position to complete the dozen.  Or
your preferred ^T.  If it were easy to make, I would propose to pick a
random twelfth on every startup.  :)

After that I would like to put in Previous Word and Next Word, but the
keycodes ^Space and M-Space are so long that not enough room remains
to describe what they do -- and anyway in any virtual terminal M-Space
opens the window menu instead of going to the preceding word.  So,
the most needed and useful keys in an editor (Next Word, Previous Word)
will stay hard to find and use in nano.

> > ^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"...
> I am attempting to make ^T more useful with the most recent changes.
> I think it'd be a shame to hide that work.

I understand, but it kind of contradicts what you said above, about
looking up advanced functions in a help text.  :)



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