[plt-scheme] Interacting w/ MzScheme

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Fri Dec 10 18:28:28 EST 2004

In my mind, the "flamefest" produced two classes of answers. The first 
one is a list of features that someone like me who worked a lot in 
emacs but isn't a truly sophisticated user can appreciate too. One 
slogan for this list could be "The mouse as an impediment". Here are 
some details:

- incremental search,
   done if you know the keystrokes
   not as lightweight as emacs

- keyboard based file dialog,
   we must support OS-specific file dialogs for the masses
   on the OSes that we use "it works"

- switching between files by name,
   i think we're there.

- searching across files,
   almost ...

- keyboard macros,
   there well ...

- marking,
   works okay for a dummy emacs user like me

- expansion
- search history
- rectangle commands
- tags

Then there are bigger issues for which we can either mimic a broken but 
useful solution from the unix/vim/emacs world or we can try to do much 
better. Some details:

- tree diff between versions of a program
   it looks like Felix has thought about this hard,
   he sits next to me (well if you don't count a wall)
   so perhaps something might happen here

- some literate programming
   (perhaps we should integrate slatex with drscheme,
   I have always wanted to start this ...)

- "Alexander Schmolck" projects
   I will say "WOW". I am glad you're still around, and
   like Robby I can see where you're going. Hmph, I don't
   think we have the manpower to tackle this.

And then there are some who will not be happy until they can run 
emacs|vim out of DrScheme and get the rest, too. I know we did this for 
sirmail, so it might be possible. But it's certainly not a proposal for 
improving the editor that we have. -- I need to point out to those who 
believe in this architecture that they have it backwards. They use 
Emacs for much more than editing. How do I know this? been there, 
thought so, and then Matthew finally hit me over the head and 
enlightened me about components. -- This entire line of work requires a 
deep rethinking of the way components work together. If you give us a 
few million dollars and wait for a couple of years, I think we can do 
it. You will be happy. But it won't be what you think it is.

;; ---

Well, I would like to add that I have very much come to appreciate the 
editor inside of DrScheme despite its disadvantages, and those it has. 
I like the pictures as first-class objects for teaching, I like the 
HTML boxes, I like a lot of the things that I don't see in Emacs. Its 
editor is not there. It's a new way of thinking about programming 
syntax. An old-timer like me often has a hard time getting used to 
graphical syntax that I can't edit in vi or Emacs in a pinch, but by 
golly, it's neat stuff.

;; ---

So gentlemen, thanks for the input. We really like your engagement and 
will allocate cycles to such issues as we can spare them from the 
208->300 port, chasing tenure, getting research money to sustain the 
effort, and other details of life.


-- Matthias

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