[racket] Survey for DrRacket users related to automatic parentheses behavior

From: Stephen Chang (stchang at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Fri Nov 23 00:05:04 EST 2012

I have tried automatic parens and stopped using it for the exact
reasons you mentioned. I would start using it again if your proposal
is implemented.

On Thu, Nov 22, 2012 at 7:20 PM, Nadeem Abdul Hamid <nadeem at acm.org> wrote:
> Hello all,
> I've been discussing with Robby a possible improvement of DrRacket's
> "automatic parentheses" behavior and would like to get a sense of others'
> general opinion about this. What follows is a description of my proposal and
> then some concrete questions.
> ;;
> The idea is to have DrRacket automatically skip over automatically-inserted
> closing parens if the user types one while the cursor is right in front of
> one. (The Eclipse Java IDE does this with various types of braces and
> parens, and in the past I've found this very nice and have observed others
> (my students) interact well with such a feature.)
> A concrete example: suppose you are in the process of typing the expression
> "(+ 4 (- 1 2) 3)". After you type the first opening parentheses and the
> characters following it up to the "2", the expression in the editor looks
> like:
>   (+ 4 (- 1 2|))
> where the | represents the cursor's position. Note the two
> automatically-inserted closing parens that are after the cursor right now.
> With the current implementation, you have to then use the right arrow key to
> make the cursor skip past the first auto-inserted ")" and then you can type
> "3". However, that really disrupts the typing process because even if you
> don't type a ) as a habit and then realize you have to delete the extra one,
> you still have to lift and move your finger to the arrow keys area of the
> keyboard or type some other key combination to skip the cursor forward.
> My proposal would be to have it so that if you type ")" in the editor state
> above, it becomes:
>   (+ 4 (- 1 2)|)
> and now you continue typing a space and the 3. Of course, the same thing
> should apply for other types of parens - ( [ { etc.
> I don't know about others, but I actually get annoyed with the curent
> automatic parens feature to the point of disabling it. That is, I like the
> auto-parens feature not because it relieves me from having to type closing
> parentheses - I don't mind that, and I actually tend to do that
> automatically as I'm typing expressions; but the benefit is that it always
> keeps parens balanced while I'm still in the middle of typing an expression.
> However, with the current behavior, it tends to make me type extra closing
> parentheses and have to go back and delete parens to balance things up
> again.
> ;;
> So, the questions:
> 1. Do you use the automatic parentheses feature of DrRacket?
> 2a. If yes, does the proposal above resonate well with you?
> 2b. And, do you think this "smart skipping" of auto-inserted closing
> parentheses should become the intrinsic behavior of the automatic
> parentheses mode, or should it be a separate preference? (i.e. have two
> preference options - the current automatic parentheses one and then a
> subordinate option that enables/disables this skipping over of auto-inserted
> closing parentheses as the user types them)
> 3. If your answer to #1 is "No", why not? (Is it because you find its
> current behavior awkward in some way?)
> Thanks,
> nadeem
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