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over-engineered (and under-standardized) inferior interfaces

From: Sam Steingold
Subject: over-engineered (and under-standardized) inferior interfaces
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:20:32 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.4.50 (darwin)


I am talking about the various inferior-FOO modes which run on top of
the comint mode and talk to an underlying interpreter.
E.g., sql, R(ESS), lisp, bash, python, pig, &c &c &c.

There are two main problems I have with them:

1. Over-engineering of connecting to the interpreter.

Take a look, e.g., at sql.el:sql-product-alist with its program,
options, login &c.

It all makes perfect sense, I am sure, most of the time.

However, sometimes the way I connect is more convoluted, e.g., I need
to ssh to server, then sudo to the right user, only then invoke a
This means that I have to set sql-program to "ssh", then pull all the
sudo &c into sql-options, then disable login-params because sql.el
stuffs them into the command line too early.

It would be nice if, as an alternative to all the many options, I could
just tell Emacs "run this command line as is and ask me no questions".

2. Lack of standardization in interaction and keybindings.

The few standard interaction operations are:

-- start an interaction (e.g., run Python on a python-mode buffer)
-- switch to an existing interaction
-- send a region, paragraph, function, line

standard options are

-- switch to the interaction buffer after sending the code there?
-- display the code sent in the buffer?

these things are done differently (if at all) in all the various modes.
E.g., not all modes bind C-c C-z to switch to the interaction buffer.
Not all even have a function to send the current line and move to the
next line (granted, this does not make sense for _all_ languages).

I wonder if it would be possible to abstract this into a macro:

(define-interaction name get-interaction-buffer-function map)

which will define all those functions and options above (and add
standard bindings to the map)

Thank you for your attention.

PS. I know that ESS, pig-mode and some others are not a part of Emacs.

Sam Steingold (http://sds.podval.org/) on darwin Ns 10.3.1265
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