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Re: Tab key functionality

Posted By: John Gruener <>
Date: Thursday, 3 September 1998, at 10:07 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Tab key functionality (Walter Rassbach)

> If it was in overwrite mode, that might be OK, except then,
> for the cases where one wanted to insert something at the end of
> the name part, one has to remember to hit the INS key now... But
> if the extension is there and you wanted to overtype it, you don't
> want insert mode -- d--ned if you do and if you don't..... There
> is probably NO good single answer for all users, which is why I
> think we may end up with a configuration option...

After thinking on this a bit, I'm going to revise my suggestion about the overwrite mode, then add my complete proposal on "Tab key functionality".

First, I think we must *always* start in the Insert mode, rather than the Overwrite mode. This is safer and will be more consistent with the "feel" of the current tab-and-edit function. However, I would not be opposed to a configuration option on this, as long as it applied as the default mode to *all* duplicate-and-edit lines.

Second, I'd like to suggest yet another key to duplicate and edit on a Rename: the Comma. This key would duplicate the name and place the cursor on the rightmost period in a name, ready to insert characters in front of it, or backspace over the characters to the left of it. (Note the directional keys above the Comma and Period would be used somewhat as they are in switching logged drives). Although the comma is now a legal file name character, as with the period, I feel it would be seldom used to start a name.

Third, I'd like to change the action of the Tab key *after* characters appear on the new line. Currently, it replaces whatever the user has entered, and cycles through the case-changing options on the old name. Instead, if the line is *not blank*, I would like it to change the case of whatever appears there, as entered or modified by the user, leaving the cursor in its current position, (or returning it there). If it is blank, it would work as it does now.

Fourth, the menu will have to be changed so that the Enter key will be described as "dupe/ok".

Fifth, optionally add configuration items for the Copy / Move Enter key, the Period and Comma key duplication, and the Insert/Overwrite mode.

(On starting file names with a period, Mathias, I could be wrong, but I think you're in the minority when we consider the majority of Windows users. Also, after reading my proposal below, consider that by simply pressing a left arrow or backspace key first you can start with a Period).

So, my complete proposal:

On a Rename, four keys could be pressed to duplicate the name, and wait for the user to edit it. They are the Tab, Enter, Comma and Period. In all cases the cursor will be in the Insert mode. The Tab key will work just as it does now, leaving the cursor past the end (rightmost) character of the name. The Enter key will leave the cursor on the first (leftmost) character. The Comma will leave the cursor on the rightmost Period. The Period will leave the cursor on the character to the right of the rightmost period. If no period exists in the name, the Comma and Period will work like the Tab key.

After *any* key has been pressed, including one of these keys or a navigation key, (even if the line has been again cleared), a subsequent press of any of them will work as follows:

The Comma and Period keys will no longer duplicate the name, but will insert the Comma or Period instead. The Enter key will complete the rename unless the line is blank, in which case it will work as if it were the first key pressed. The Tab key will change the case of whatever appears on the entry line, unless the line is blank, in which case it will work as if it were the first key pressed. When the Tab key is being used to change the case it will leave the cursor in its present position, (or return it there).

Change the Rename prompt description of the Enter key to "dupe/ok". In file rename, to make room, change the prompt to "Enter file spec". The Period and Comma keys would be "hidden" functions.

The "Copy/Move as" entry will work exactly as the proposed Rename, except for the action of the Enter key, which will function just as it does now, duplicating the name, (or completing the new name), and prompting for the target location.

Three configuration options could be added:

1. Initial Enter Key on Copy / Move - DUPLICATE or EDIT. (Default DUPLICATE). If EDIT is set, the Enter key would work as in the proposed Rename function, (requiring two depressions of the Enter key to duplicate the name).

2. Comma and Period Key Name Duplication - ENABLED or DISABLED. (Default ENABLED).

3. Default Rename Edit Mode - INSERT or OVERWRITE. (Default INSERT). This would apply to the "Copy/Move as" line also.

OK, gang. What's wrong with this, and what did I overlook?


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