Re: [dev] Is there a text editor following the UNIX philosophy?

From: Ethan Marshall <>
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2022 13:55:28 +0000

> Acme looks extremely neat. Mouse
> chording is a strange concept (which doesn't play nicely with my
> laptop mouse)

This is something that I fundamentally disagree with the designers of
acme on, actually. I think that mouse "chording" or mouse-based
shortcuts of any kind are slow and wasteful of precious time.

When entering text, you keep your hands on the keyboard. I see no reason
why we should introduce yet another input device for simply editing or
transforming the text. This is why so many programs naturally gravitate
toward cursor-addressed, textual editing. vi is designed to keep your
fingers on the home row when moving the cursor, so touch typing is meant
to be easier. Not only is this a stroke of genius (something that I feel
Emacs never succeeded in), it also has wide, practical implications on
your editing of text. Why should I reach for a mouse to cut the previous
section of text when I can keep using the current input device? Rather
than moving my hands over an inch, instead I can not move them at all
and get the same result, the only requirement being that I press escape

The usual counter-argument for this is that the keyboard is an imperfect
device for this situation, as it was not designed for anything but
inputting characters. So - in theory - the time saved from using a
device meant for this purpose should be better. However, practice again
teaches us that this is not the case. Mice are the bane of most users'
lives when they are forced to use them for editing text. You have to
take your hand off the keyboard, move them to some arbitrary location,
correctly manoeuvre the mouse, move back to the initial position and
finally edit your text. After all this, you may have to repeat the
process to navigate to the end of the text.

Even if the mouse were, in fact, the perfect time-saver that we are
told, it is not designed for such shortcuts and chording. The mouse has
three buttons. These were intended with three very clear purposes. The
keyboard usually has 104+ keys on it for usage in key shortcuts. The
mouse? Three. If we assume chording, a theoretical maximum of nine
shortcuts. However, to access them, you have to memorize a nonsensical
pattern of M1-M2 (Emacs style). Instead, to delete text in my silly,
inefficient visual editor, I just press d on my keyboard.

This may just be me being a perfectionist who likes to edit back what he
has just written, or it may just be something that I feel personally
about mice, but I cannot understand why you would build an editor for
programmers which does not use keyboard bindings.

I have tried acme and sam. Both have their benefits, and I like the some
of their ideas. I tried acme for equal to or greater than the amount of
time which I spent learning vi(m) - and I just cannot like it.

Received on Sat Feb 12 2022 - 14:55:28 CET

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Sat Feb 12 2022 - 15:36:08 CET