[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Toolbar and info mode (and others)

Stefan Monnier <monnier@iro.umontreal.ca> writes:
>> 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);
> I definitely do not want to encourage people to use windows larger than
> 80 columns.

Indeed.  It's actually very annoying to see comments like "on modern
graphical displays, this is a non-issue."  That simply isn't true.

There are many different usage styles, and despite the increasing
resolution of displays, you can't assume that everybody is using the
one-huge-window-occupying-the-whole-screen style of usage that's common
with MS apps, nor do I think you can assume that the majority are.
[Like many others, I prefer to use my display's resolution to show
multiple windows side by side when possible.]

I don't think the "big windows vs. many small windows" issue is entirely
arbitrary either:  Emacs is a _text editor_, and typical text just isn't
very readable past a certain width.  Emacs can split windows
horizontally, but unfortunately Emacs window layout is too dynamic to
work very well if you require constraints on the layout like certain
horizontal vertical splits.  This is in contrast with graphical
applications like spreadsheets, or mail readers with a rigid layout,
which can use extra horizontal space much more effectively.

>> Modern word processors/text editors often have two or three toolbar
>> lines with dozens of buttons.
>> A more extensive toolbar could help newbies learn/explore Emacs faster.
> Could be.  Right now, the menus play this role.

Yup.  Emacs newbies I've observed seem quite happy with the menus (which
are actually quite a bit easier to understand than the toolbar; the
whole concept of "irritatingly slow to use" doesn't seem to be a problem
for some reason... :-)

I think in fact a big fancy toolbar is not particularly newbie-friendly
at all.  Indeed, even as an "expert" user, I'm somewhat daunted by
typical toolbars and even after using a MS-style app for a long time,
only really seem to end up using a few common toolbar buttons.

I get the feeling that the massive extended toolbars really serve
somewhat the same role in a typical MS app that keybindings do in Emacs:
both are somewhat cryptic and take a fair bit of time to remember, but
are probably faster and more convenient than the menus -- once you have
learned them.  Given Emacs' much larger command set and more
sophisticated keybinding mechanisms, the typical expert user seems
better served by just learning the keybindings.  The exception is
perhaps heavily-used commands like file save/open etc -- and those are
exactly the things which are already in Emacs' toolbar.

Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra.  Suddenly it flips over,
pinning you underneath.  At night the ice weasels come.  --Nietzsche

Reply to: