how to find Elisp functions

Wed, 13 Jul 2016 04:13:50 +0200

> In this case it's particularly egregious
> because sub-x.el [which has `string-trim']
> isn't documented in the lisp manual or in any
> other manual.
>
> Perhaps a page in the lisp manual describing
> these 11 functions, saying these are
> potentially useful, would mean that someone
> would find them, use them and then we'd be
> able to deem them useful.

Well, *reading* manuals are great if they are
books intented for humans to read, for example
my favorite computer book, which is

    @book{internet-book,
      author     = {Comer},
      ISBN       = 0138920923,
      publisher  = {Pearson},
      title      = {The Internet Book},
      year       = 1997
    }

However when it comes to tech details like this
such books aren't much good, and reference
manuals are only good if there is a good method
of looking up things in it.

Otherwise it is only frustrating to browse tons
of material and often I dislike it so much
I prefer writing new stuff to do the same, just
so I don't have to browse all that unrelated
material before I get to what I want...

So, there should be an explicit algorithm which
can be anything from "use the index at the back
of the book" to "use the
`dynamic-built-in-function'...".

The criteria for if the method/reference is
good enough should be that you should find what
you look for if you know the correct term.

In this case, the result was very bad because
I knew the correct term (to "trim" a string)
but still didn't find the function; worse,
I found the ERC, Gnus, Google translate
trimmers, which is confusing at best and will
result in tangled-up software at worst.

But the method applied was `apropos' (search
string: "trim") and nothing else, so there is
no disqualification of any other method anyone
else may suggest - but it sure isn't a good
start...

Another advantage with explicit methods is that
after you have done it you can turn to
gnu.emacs.help or #emacs and nobody can tell
you anything, except for God willing the answer
you are looking for...

> ...

I think it is probably better to focus on the
methods and structure of the problem than on
particular data items, but yes, one can do
that, for sure.

I agree a manual as in a text item isn't going
to solve it, perhaps a SQL database (and a web
interface) with every single Elisp function
(name, argument list, docstring, and location)
would be better...

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