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   Re: [xml-dev] XML-appropriate editing data structures

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On Thu, 8 Apr 2004 17:26:26 -0700
"Jeff Rafter" <lists@jeffrafter.com> wrote:

> > Give me a key to tap on if I need help.  *However*, several of my
> > colleagues absolutely cannot comprehend this attitude, and profess
> > themselves unable to survive without automatic code-completion sorts
> > of facilities (most of them type slow, too, she sneered).
> If they can be turned off you are satisfied? 


> For users that use them they are imperative. They are clearly not
> harmful for those users-- how can it be considered harmful by nature?

I can think of half a dozen editors that have implemented auto-complete
features without providing a switch to turn it off.  Result: corrupted
documents, and me spending time trying to figure out where it's decided
to "help" me finish my typing.

> While I am happy to concede the point that
> there are many states of document editing, many of which include
> invalidity or non-wellformedness, requiring that editors only exist in
> this mode seems extreme.

Extreme for you?  Okay.  Extreme for me?  No.  I'm not going to use an
auto-complete feature.  Never use.  Turning it off is just another
hassle.  Searching for the place to turn it off is just another hassle. 
Not finding the place to turn it off means uninstall.

> But I don't understand how, if the user invokes the dialog with some
> sort of key sequence, offering a list of elements that are valid at a
> given point can be considered a bad thing. It is entirely optional,
> and when needed, exceedingly helpful.

That's quite different from auto-complete.  Hit shift-spacebar, get a
prompt of possible completions, fine.  Type an opening <, and have it
pop up without asking, *not* fine.  Get out of my face.  Select from a
list that I've asked for and get something inserted, fine.  Auto-insert
because this is the only possible completion in context, and I'm
finished testing *another* editor.

Code assist got really sexy a few years ago, and *everyone* had to have
it.  Having a way to disable it was a lower priority.  This is true even
of eclipse plugins, for instance.  The Java editor can be configured to
behave politely and keep its fingers out of my code.  And I can ask it
for help, when I want it, with a shift-spacebar keypress (not too
different from tab completion in the shell).  Most of the XML editors
can't have these [mis]features disabled; they're more insistently
helpful than a newborn puppy, and about as useful when I'm working.  I
don't use eclipse for XML editing, as a result.



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