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Re: Gtk scrollbar: thumb too short

From: Miles Bader
Subject: Re: Gtk scrollbar: thumb too short
Date: 02 Apr 2003 10:33:14 +0900

Owen Taylor <address@hidden> writes:
> Actually, it would be interesting to know what percentage of emacs
> users actually _drag_ the scrollbar to navigate in a document; it's
> quite possible the primary use of the scrollbar is as a visual
> indicator of where the current viewport is located within the
> document. In which case, it's not clear to me that the scrollbar is
> the right control at all.

What are you suggesting?  A knob?  The scrollbar fits quite well, even
if emacs users don't use it in exactly the same way as with other apps.

In my personal use, I rarely drag -- but I _do_ sometimes, because
occasionally it's the best way to quickly scan through a file.  From
what I've observed, novice users drag more often.

> For GTK+, I really want to preserve the idea that the scrollbar
> consists of a thumb of some length that can be positioned between two
> extremes - at the top of the trough and at the bottom of the
> trough. For it to change length while dragging is a bit peculiar.  For
> it to go past the ends of the trough, either literally or by shrinking
> as it is pushed against the end is completely outside that model.

The above two behaviors are merely _extensions_ to the `usual' behavior
(as you define it), and fairly natural ones at that -- they extrapolate
your `model' beyond the (arbitrary) boundaries you've set for other
apps, but only in boundary cases, and only a little bit.

I somehow get the impression you're worried that if GTK supports these
extensions for emacs, it will `pollute' users' idea of how a scrollbar
works; if so this seems kind of silly.

Emacs should _definitely_ use the same scrollbar as other GTK apps
because regardless of any different behavior in corner cases, it's 95%
the same thing.  Users know that when they want to scroll, they can use
a scrollbar, and the emacs extensions being discussed make absolutely
no fundamental changes in the way scrollbars work.

Come now, if we were really planning to harm you, would we be waiting here, 
 beside the path, in the very darkest part of the forest?

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