Web lists-archives.com

Re: text editors

On Fri 29 Mar 2019 at 09:35:21 (+0000), Dekks Herton wrote:
> David Wright <deblis@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> writes:
> > On Thu 28 Mar 2019 at 08:30:47 (+0000), Gian Uberto Lauri wrote:
> >> >>>>> "JH" == John Hasler <jhasler@xxxxxxxxxxx> writes:
> >> 
> >> JH> deloptes writes:
> >> >> learning emacs means learning lisp
> >> 
> >> JH> Not true.
> >> 
> >> In my experience is true. But needs some more words.
> >> 
> >> When you intensively start using Emacs, and you start asking to the
> >> editor "Oh, True One Editor, what is the meaning of this keystroke?"
> >> (😊) and see the answer, when you take a look to the .emacs of a more
> >> experienced user, you see, sooner or later you understand that there
> >> is a way to tell Emacs how "to do useful things"[*]. And since these
> >> things are useful to you, you learn to do them. Even if you do not
> >> know that what you are doing is "programming in LISP".
> >> 
> >> [*] I lost the source where I read that in an organization even
> >> secretaries used Emacs, and that these secretaries learnt how to do
> >> "useful things" without a problem. Mostly because they were unaware
> >> they were programming.
> >
> > I would have thought that secretaries were more competent at
> > cut-and-paste than I am, and that is the way in which I have assembled
> > my ~250 line emacs startup file. That, and substituting one string
> > for another in these pasted sections and seeing if they still work.
> > I'm afraid I don't call that programming in *lisp or learning *lisp.
> Don't [•] secretaries, i've seen a lot that would make better programmers
> than whom they work looking at the macros they use.

[I assume that you meant to write some derogatory verb at • or else
it got lost, as did your entire comment in the other two versions
I've received from you.]

It's rather difficult to carry on a conversation unless you use the
same nouns to refer to things as others have used. Yes, when writing
literature, it makes sense to add some variety in one's choice of
words, but this is a technical forum. It was fairly obvious to me
that "secretaries" was being used as a term to refer to "people
engaged in clerical work". There are plenty of secretaries doing
far more sophisticated work than this and, as a job title, the term
reaches all the way to the top of organisations, with University
Secretaries, Secretaries of State and the like.

I think I made my point clearly enough: assembling a file of macros
that do useful things does not necessarily equate with programming
those said macros. I used my own startup file as an example.
It turned out that the example actually involved troff, ed and shell
rather than emacs and *lisp. It's probably easier for non-programmers
to cobble together useful shell scripts than to make headway in *lisp,
so without knowing to what level they took these scripts, it's
difficult to judge whether they *were* programming.

Back in the early 1970s, a 4-digit version of the game "Bulls and Cows"¹
was written using the line-by-line editor Edit (by Gill Cross) by
ingenious use of its single in-store buffer. If it wasn't written by
Frank King, who wrote such a game on the Titan at Cambridge, then it
was obviously inspired by it. That *was* programming.

¹ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulls_and_Cows