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Re: Shift-Letter / Spell Mode Comparison

Posted By: John Gruener <>
Date: Wednesday, 9 September 1998, at 8:56 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Shift-Letter Extension (Walter Rassbach)

(I'm posting this here because our thread is getting quite long, and I thought it might be a good idea to go back at least to this level. The branches I've bypassed are mostly clarifications).

In order to be sure that I understand Walter's proposal correctly, (and also that everyone understands mine), I am going to compare each, function-by-function. Then I'll compile a list of what I perceive to be the advantages of each.

Before I do that, I will have to add functions to mine, some of which I believe could be added later. This is necessary to fairly compare the two proposals. It's also possible that Walter could add functions to his, and I invite him to do so, so that in the end we can compare each on equal grounds.

Therefore, I have changed my Tab/Shift-Tab to PageUp/PageDown, have added other navigation and edit keys, and have added the F4 key to the definition.

A note on the usage of the "|" key to enter the Spell mode: I picked it because it's available in all windows; it's intuitive in the sense that the unshifted "\" key starts the Spell mode for the logical path; and, in my view, its an important enough function to dedicate an unused key. I'd be open to a different key if it made more sense.

Here is my comparison, with Walter's indicated by -WR->, and mine by -JG->:

-WR-> Initiate Spell mode with any Shift-Letter, Number or legal Special character other than Period, Comma or Space.
-JG-> Initiate Spell mode with "|" (Shift-Backslash).

-WR-> Terminate Spell mode with any command key, including unshifted letters, and Alt, Ctrl or Backspace.
-JG-> Terminate Spell mode with Enter or Esc.

-WR-> Spell with Shift-Letters, Numbers and all legal special characters except Period, Comma and Space, (and Plus and Minus unless configuration option is set).
-JG-> Spell with any legal characters, including Unshifted letters, Period, Comma, Plus, Minus and Space without needing an option to disable the main Plus and Minus keys or to add Ins/Del key functions.

-WR-> Use Colon to toggle to extensions, (since the Shift key is probably being held down).
-JG-> Use BackSlash or ForwardSlash, or both, to toggle to extensions, (since the Shift key is probably not being held down).

-WR-> Use Double Quotes to recall the last spelled name from the Initial State or the Spell mode.
-JG-> Use an Up/Down key to recall a history list of the last spelled names, or the F3 key to recall the most recent spelled name, from the Spell mode only.

-WR-> Use Double Quotes in all windows to navigate to the next name meeting the spelling and enter/remain in the Spell mode. Also use the Tab/Shift-Tab, in the File windows only, (except the F8-Split mode), to navigate to the next/previous name meeting the spelling, but exit to the Initial state.
-JG-> Use the PageUp/PageDown keys in all windows, (including the F8-Split mode), to navigate to the next/previous name meeting the spelling and remain in the Spell mode.

-WR-> Use the F4 key to reduce the display to those matching the spelling, (questionable, since this is another "command" key).
-JG-> Use the F4 key to reduce the display to those matching the spelling, (not questionable, since we're in a dedicated Spell mode).

-WR-> No method to get immediately to the first/last name meeting the spelling.
-JG-> Use the Ctrl-Home/Ctrl-End keys to get immediately to the first/last name meeting the spelling in the current sort order.

-WR-> Has no "text entry" field.
-JG-> Has "text entry" field, (just like the "\" function in the directory window), but with edit capabilities.

-WR-> No ability to edit the entered spelling.
-JG-> Ability to use Left/Right, Ctrl-Left/Ctrl-Right, Home/End, Backspace/Delete, and Insert keys to edit the spelling.

1. Easier to enter the Spell mode, by one keystroke.
2. Easier to recall the previous spelling, by two keystrokes.
3. Can find the next name meeting the spelling directly from the Initial state.
4. A true "extension" of the current find-name-by-first-character function.
5. The "|" key remains open for other future functions.
6. Easier to program.

1. All legal characters can be used to spell, including the commonly used Space and Period.
2. No need to go through Shift-Letter, Unshift-Number, Shift-Letter combinations.
3. Less likely to accidently exit back to the initial state, (by pressing an unshifted letter or cursor key).
4. Ability to save/recall history of commonly searched-for spellings.
5. Ability to get to the next file/directory with the same (unshifted) keys in all windows.
6. Fully functional in the F8-Split mode.
7. Ability to navigate directly to the first/last name that meets the spelling.
8. Ability to navigate forward, backward, to beginning and end of names meeting the spelling without exiting back to the initial state.
9. Ability to see the current specification for the spelling as you enter it, including the current placement of the cursor when toggling to the extension and back to the name.
10. Ability to edit the spelling with various edit keys.
11. No configuration options are necessary.
12. No (optional) loss of functionality of the current main Plus and Minus keys.
13. Maintains the current find-name-by-first-character function without modification.

Although I have spent hours on this, I still may not fully understand or appreciate Walter's proposal. If not, please feel free to mark/hack up this list until we all at least agree on the advantages/disadvantages of each.

It's important to me that all understand that I'm not one to discard "out-of-hand" any suggestion made. On the contrary, I have studied Walter's proposal very carefully to be sure I fully understand its merits. Also, I'm not one to hold on to my own suggestion just because I made it. I simply want to help Kim provide what we agree, or reach a consensus, is the most useful ZTree to the most people.


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