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

Re: log of a newbie 02/15/99


I think a large part of your difficulties with comming to terms with
emacs and emacspeak is due mainly to Mr Gates and microsoft. I am
constantly frustrated by microsofts refusal to stick to established
conventions with respect to concepts, terminology etc. They appear to
assume their way of doing things is either the only way or the best
way and just go ahead and redefine or re-invent things to suit
themselves. I would'nt mind if what they did made things clearer or
provided a better definition or clarified a concept - however I find
in many situations they actually muddy the waters and make things more
confusing by broadening concepts/terms to encompass things they were
not originally intended to cover.

Something to keep in mind with emacs is that it uses "buffers" for
everything. Shell command output is sent to a buffer, your mail is
read in a buffer, files are viewd/edited in buffers etc. A buffer does
not just mean an open file or an open window. For example, at present
I have over 30 open buffers on my system, but only three open windows
(a mail summary window, a mail composition window and the mini-buffer
at the bottom.) 

You don't have to "close" a buffer just to move to a new file. In
fact, at your current level of learning, I would'nt worry about
closeing buffers at all. When you exit emacs, it will ask you if you
want to save any buffers which contain files which have been
edited since the file was open (though there is a minor bug in
emacspeak which gives incorrect prompting regarding buffer names). You
can save a buffer with C-x C-s. You can write a buffer to file with
C-x C-w (you will be prompted for a file name - you don't need to use
C-x C-w unless you want to save a buffer which is not associated with
a file (e.g. a buffer containing output from a shell command) or if
you want to save the changes to a different file. Just use C-x C-s to
save changes back to the original file). 

You can move to a specific buffer (all buffers have unique names) with
the command C-x b You can get a list of all open buffers with C-x C-b
which brings up another buffer with a list of all the open buffers 

Although it might not seem like it at the moment, there actually is a
pattern to the way control characters are used. For example, all
on-line help is accessed via C-h followed by another key which
specifies exatly what help you want. Commands dealing with buffers and
files use C-x, commands dealing with emacspeak use C-e etc. Once you
get use to this, you will find its actually very easy to do things -
even things you have never done before. As an example, you may know
that the command to open a file in another window is C-x 4 C-f - now
lets say you wanted to open dired in another window. You know the
command for dired is C-x d. Can you guess what the command is for
opening dired in another window? Would you believe C-x 4 d - notice
the pattern C-x 4 will cause the command to operate in the "other"

One of the great things about emacs is that nearly any part of it can be
re-configured to suit exactly the needs of the user. You can redefine
all the key bindings (the commands a key combination is bound to),
fonts (if running under X), colours, buffer behavior (e.g. auto-fill
modes, etc).  This flexibility does come at a cost - it can take
longer to learn but it does mean that given time you can configure
your system to work the way you want rather than having to learn to
work the way the system wants (as is often the case under windows95/98

Try to forget about compareing emacs and windows9x - they are
completely different systems. It is probably worthless (and definately
pointless) to argue whose terminology and concepts are correct -
personally, I favor emacs because it has been around a lot longer then
microsoft and many of the ideas and features available in other
editors were originally borrowed (and waterd down) from emacs. Its
critically important to learn emacs's definitions and concepts as
defined by emacs rather than seeing terms/concepts under a windows
definition. Take for example your comments a few days ago about
searching for text. Emacs provides different types of searching
including regular expression (regexp) based searches. Regular
expressions are a very powerful string/pattern matching technique
which is not widely supported under dos/windows based applications. It
would be incorrect to give a prompt which just asked for a string when
prompting for a regular expression as it would give no indication of
what characters had special meanings or how to format the pattern you
wish to find etc. Your confusion over buffers, files and windows is
probably due to your conceptual framework being based in dos/windows
terminology and concepts where little distinction is made between
things like buffers, files and windows - in many ways dos/windows sees
these things as one and the same while emacs sees them as destinct
concepts for different aspects of the system. Go through the emacs
tutorial, faq and info pages and adjust your conceptual framework to
match emacs and you'll find it a lot easier than trying to understand
emacs while still having a conceptual framework based on a dos/windows
environment. Once you get use to this and become use to emacs/linux
I believe you will really appreciate the flexability and stability of
the environment and begin to wonder why microsoft is so limited,
expensive and unstable. 

Oh well, enough evangelical like preaching from me.....


Ann K. Parsons writes:
> Hi all,
> Tim, thanks.  I have added it.
> Here's a stupid question for you.  I suppose I should just take the tutorial, and I will, but how does one save a file and close that application without closing emacs?  Thanks.
> Ann P.

       To unsubscribe or change your address send mail to
"emacspeak-request@cs.vassar.edu" with a subject of "unsubscribe" or "help"

Emacspeak Files | Subscribe | Unsubscribe