bug#41532: Why use the mouse in Emacs?

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bug#41532: Why use the mouse in Emacs?

Emacs - Bugs mailing list
I briefly followed the discussions about the graphical interface on the
developer mailing list. One issue that comes to mind is the role of
the graphical user interface. Comparing Emacs with other GUIs, one
perceives that the Emacs graphical interface is half broken. This would
explain why many users would prefer using the keyboard or why some users
would perceive Emacs as an outdated text editor.

You can use the mouse to click on certain elements but it is difficult
to navigate with the mouse or to organize its work because the interface
is not designed this way. The menu, for example, does not open graphical
windows but usual Emacs windows (minibuffer, echo area, Customize...).

Finally, I think it is necessary to clarify that we use Emacs mainly
with the keyboard because the interface is designed that way otherwise
the user will have false expectations.

Best regards,
Kevin Vigouroux



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bug#41532: Why use the mouse in Emacs?

Drew Adams
> The user experience is quite different when browsing the Emacs and
> LibreOffice menus although they seem similar. The Emacs interface is
> mainly text-based partly because there are few graphical widgets.
>
> Nonetheless, this difference is not always clearly perceived. It can be
> seen in the following two cases:
>
> 1. Menu bar> Tools, Merge, Files... opens a window manager window.
> 2. Menu bar> Tools, Search Files(Grep)... opens the minibuffer.

#1 invites you to submit a `grep' command.
#2 invites you to choose files.

 `C-h v use-dialog-box'
 `C-h v use-file-dialog'

(Emacs users have a choice, for #2.)

`...' at the end of a menu item means that _some_
further user interaction will entail - for example,
you might be prompted for some input (minibuffer),
or to hit a key (`read-char'), or you may be invited
to do any number of other things.

I'm not sure what you're saying - what the problem is.
But it seems that you're sure.  Examples (like the one
you showed here) can likely help get your point across.
But maybe it's clear to others, even if not to me.

You speak in generalities, which doesn't help (me):
"the Emacs graphical interface is half broken."
"it is difficult to navigate with the mouse or to
organize its work".

HTH.



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bug#41532: Why use the mouse in Emacs?

Colin Baxter
In reply to this post by Emacs - Bugs mailing list
>>>>> Bug reports for GNU Emacs, the Swiss army knife of text editors <Kevin> writes:

    > You can use the mouse to click on certain elements but it is
    > difficult to navigate with the mouse or to organize its work
    > because the interface is not designed this way. The menu, for
    > example, does not open graphical windows but usual Emacs windows
    > (minibuffer, echo area, Customize...).

    > Finally, I think it is necessary to clarify that we use Emacs
    > mainly with the keyboard because the interface is designed that
    > way otherwise the user will have false expectations.

Well you may do that. I use mainly the keyboard to avoid repetitive stress
injuries to my wrist. And after 40-odd years, I think it's been
successful.

Best wishes,

Colin.

--
Colin Baxter
URL: http://www.Colin-Baxter.com



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bug#41532: Why use the mouse in Emacs?

Dmitry Alexandrov-2
In reply to this post by Emacs - Bugs mailing list
Kevin Vigouroux <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I think it is necessary to clarify that we use Emacs mainly with the keyboard because … otherwise the user will have false expectations.

I there really anyone who expects that he can use a _text editor_ without keyboard?  (Voice recognition aside.)

In any case, +1 — novice users better be not exposed to barely used and therefore neglected features, such as toolkit dialogs.

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bug#41532: Why use the mouse in Emacs?

Dmitry Alexandrov-2
In reply to this post by Emacs - Bugs mailing list
Drew Adams <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The difference from some other applications, I think, is that some applications pretty much _require_ you to use a mouse.

Yep, and thatʼs partly true even for Emacs.  Especially, when itʼs built with no GTK.  IIRC, Lucid popup menus once were usable without mouse, but they are not anymore for some reason, while --with-x-toolkit=no menus have never been.

There is M-x tmm-menubar, of course, but besides main menu there are also context menus.  I have not done a good research, but at first sight Iʼve failed to figure out how to access them without falling back to mouse.


>> the Emacs graphical interface [in sense of use-dialog-box and use-file-dialog] is half broken.
>
> How so?  Specifically, what's the problem?

One thing that frustrated me once upon a time, was a dialog window I got trying to close the last frame of server-less Emacs (FWIW, no mouse was involved), that asked the usual question about saving buffers, blocking the session, but it had _no_ ‘cancel’ button.

I could try to press ‘close window’ again, but it had not been quite obvious which of two UI design patterns Emacs would follow here:
— closing the dialog window = cancel (this happens to be the case, after all);
— repeating the destructive command twice = force it (like e. g. C-d in Bash when there are background jobs) — definitely not what I wanted.

Perhaps, I was too stupid, but it took me a certain time to came to idea, that toolkit dialogs in Emacs might accept C-g as well (yes, they do).

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bug#41532: Why use the mouse in Emacs?

Stefan Kangas
In reply to this post by Emacs - Bugs mailing list
tags 41532 + moreinfo
thanks

Kevin Vigouroux <[hidden email]> writes:

> The user experience is quite different when browsing the Emacs and
> LibreOffice menus although they seem similar. The Emacs interface is
> mainly text-based partly because there are few graphical widgets.
>
> Nonetheless, this difference is not always clearly perceived. It can be
> seen in the following two cases:
>
> 1. Menu bar> Tools, Merge, Files... opens a window manager window.
> 2. Menu bar> Tools, Search Files(Grep)... opens the minibuffer.
>
> Moreover, I think people may also confuse a text-based interface having
> a good appearance with a graphical user interface.
>
> The issue may be:
>
> - Better describe or explain how to use the mouse in the interface,
>
> - Fix the menu so as not to mislead the user,

What do you suggest, more concretely?  I've read the thread but I can't
find anything actionable.

> - Rebuild at least partially the Emacs graphical user interface.

This is a bit too vague to be actionable.  I suggest coming up with
concrete suggestions for what to do, and sending them as separate
feature requests.