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[wingide-users] Overtype mode

Steven D'Aprano
Mon, 3 Jun 2002 01:25:02 +1000

On Sun,  2 Jun 2002 13:56, Ken Kinder wrote:
> On Sat, 2002-06-01 at 22:34, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> > On Sun,  2 Jun 2002 10:04, Ken Kinder wrote:
> > > Probably an issue with scientilla, but, in overtype mode:
> > >
> > >   - The backspace character should replace the prior character
> > > with a space, not actually remove it from the line.
> >
> > No, backspace should backspace regardless of the typing mode. If
> > you want to overwrite with a space, type a space.
> >
> > Otherwise, backspace can only go backwards a maximum of one
> > position. If you hit backspace twice in a row, the first time you
> > replace the previous character with a space. The second time you
> > replace the space with a space. This would be a bug.
> No, because the cursor goes back. Like this, in overtype mode:
>    Spam_Eggs
> (Cursor where the underscore is) If I type backspace, I should get:
>    Spa_ Eggs
> Try it in emacs.

This is an arbitrary choice of behaviour that makes very little sense. 
Taking your example, you start with "Spam Eggs". If you actually want 
"Eggs", normal behaviour is to backspace starting from the E until you 
get to the beginning of the string. But if you do that in emacs, you 
get the string "     Eggs".

And why spaces? Why not underscores or dashes or pluses? "+++++Eggs" is 
at least as useful as "     Eggs" and no more arbitrary.

The only excuse for inserting spaces when backspacing or deleting is if 
you have a fixed-length string. But even then you should only add 
spaces to the end of the string as filler, not the beginning or middle.

Later, Ken Kinder wrote:

> Well, I prefer the emacs behavior. Maybe it could be an option?

If you want emacs, you know where to find it.

A good user interface shouldn't have a hundred different options. That 
is a sign of poor UI testing and wishy-washy design. A good UI should 
pick one good way which works well and use it, not pick fifty ways that 
work badly and let the user choose which one they prefer.

Read the article by Havoc Pennington. It is mainly dealing with free 
software, in particular Gnome, but much of it is relevant to commercial 
software. Especially see his analysis of "The Question of Preferences" 
(approximately half way down the web page.

Steven D'Aprano

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