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Re: Toolbar and info mode (and others)

> If we're talking about the proverbial Emacs newbie, there are few
> things more confusing than wiping out the toolbar ("Where did the
> buttons go?").

The fact that the text editor, the info browser and the news reader all use
the same Emacs virtual machine doesn't imply they should use the
same toolbar.
They're separate applications.

> If the newbie is a heavy toolbar user (which she's bound to be at first,
> before she learns using keybindings), this behavior will be unexpected
> and disorienting.

They may find it inconvenient, but "disorienting" is hard to believe.

> On modern graphical displays, this is a non-issue.  On my standard
> laptop display, if the frame is appr. 80 columns wide, 20-25 buttons
> can be placed on the toolbar (i.e., all the standard and Info buttons
> would be visible);

Many people use much smaller fonts, so we have to take this into account.

> if the frame is maximized, you could have many more.

I definitely do not want to encourage people to use windows larger than
80 columns.

> Talking about confusing: the button that resembles an `x' runs
> kill-this-buffer on the global toolbar; the same button runs Info-exit in
> Info mode.  The former kills the buffer, the latter merely buries it.

That's unfortunate and should be fixed.  Better report this separately so it
doesn't get lost.  OTOH I believe this problem was already present in
Emacs-21, so it shouldn't hold the release of Emacs-22.

> Modern word processors/text editors often have two or three toolbar
> lines with dozens of buttons.

Word processors yes, but text editors?  Which one(s) are you thinking of?

> If users don't find this confusing there, why would they find it confusing
> in Emacs?

Yes, I don't think it'd be confusing, just less useful.  I guess if we want
to go down that route, we'd first have to tweak the tool-bar such that each
item uses up less space.  Emacs's toolbar is pretty large, so with one or
two rows of items, you wouldn't have much space left for the text itself.

> A more extensive toolbar could help newbies learn/explore Emacs faster.

Could be.  Right now, the menus play this role.

> In my view, a well-designed toolbar and menubar can help people to climb
> that curve faster.

I doubt it.  I believe the learning curve is elsewhere (e.g. in the window
management, in the terminology, etc...).


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