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words, symbols and syntax-tables

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: words, symbols and syntax-tables
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2001 15:57:25 -0400

Why on earth is there such a thing as a "w" syntax-class ?
It seems the distinction between "w" and "_" is only used for
interactive `forward-word' operations and that in such cases
the definition of what is a "word" does not really depend on
the major-mode but is instead pretty much "constant".

I.e. why not eliminate the "w" syntax-class and implement forward-word
using something else than the buffer's syntax-table (like a global
"word-char-table" similar to the case-tables) ?

Obviously, this would break lots of code in various ways, but
in hindsight, was it a good decision to implement word-operations
using syntax-tables (and more specifically the "w" syntax-class) ?


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