(Chapa 1)


Eev @ EmacsConf 2020

This is a follow-up to my presentation at the EmacsConf 2019, whose title was:
"How to record executable notes with eev - and how to play them back".

On why most of the best features in eev look like 5-minute hacks

In the last months there were several hundreds of messages in
emacs-devel in threads with names like "A proposal for a friendlier
Emacs", "How to make Emacs popular again", and "Interactive guide for
new users". On the one hand I am absolutely sure that eev is a very
good answer to all these themes; on the other hand I know that eev is
based on some design decisions that offend most people used to modern,
"user-friendly" interfaces - and I feel that at this moment mentions
to eev in those discussions in emacs-devel would not be welcome.

In this talk I will start by presenting very quickly the main "killer
features" of eev - namely:

  1) Elisp hyperlinks,

  2) interactive tutorials that can be navigated with just three keys,

  3) non-invasiveness - people can easily turn eev on for only five
     minutes each week, play with it a bit, and then turn it off,

  4) high discoverability factor,

  5) a way to create "hyperlinks to here",

  6) hyperlinks to specific points in PDF documents and video files -
     i.e., to specific pages, strings, and timemarks,

  7) a way to control shell-like programs ("eepitch"), and

  8) an Elisp tutorial,

and after that I will present the design decisions behind eev, in two

  1) eev is a very thin layer above Emacs-the-Lisp-environment; it is
     as simple as possible, but in the sense of "simple" that was used
     in Forth, and that is not very familiar today.

  2) Very often when I am using Emacs - which is my main interface
     with the system - I realize that I can automate some task that I
     just did by hand twice of thrice; and that I should do that,
     because automating that would be both easy and fun. Over the
     years I experimented with several ways of automating tasks,
     refined some of these ways a lot, and found a certain "best"
     style that, again, usually offends people who are accustomed with
     the modern ideas of user-friendliness. In this style, used in
     most template-based functions in eev, both textual documentation
     and error-handling are kept to a minimum. I will show how, and
     why, eev makes this style works so well, and how users can create
     their own templated functions very quickly - as "5-minute hacks".