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Re: company 0.2.1 -- extensible inline text completion mechanism

From: Toby Cubitt
Subject: Re: company 0.2.1 -- extensible inline text completion mechanism
Date: Tue, 07 Apr 2009 07:46:32 +0200
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20090331)

Nikolaj Schumacher wrote:
> Richard Riley <address@hidden> wrote:
>> How do you see this competing with auto-complete which completes pretty
>> much anything?
> Like auto-complete, this is a front-end.
> You can probably bend back-ends for either to work in the other.  In
> fact company mode is designed for self-contained exchangable back-ends.
> So the question really isn't which one can complete "more".
> I consider some of the back-ends in company to be more sophisticated
> than what I've seen in auto-complete (Emacs Lisp, CSS, ...), though.  I
> certainly wouldn't mind working on back-end compatibility.
> It is unfortunate that there now are two packages out there doing mostly
> the same thing.

Three :)

There's also Completion-UI (which I believe is also quite a bit older than
both the others, though I could be wrong). It's more sophisticated than
auto-complete, and implements many more user-interfaces and features for
in-buffer completion. However, it *doesn't* implement the overlay-based
simulation of tooltips used in auto-complete.

Since Completion-UI is fully modular, new user-interfaces can very easily
be plugged into it, so my intention is to add the auto-completion
interface to Completion-UI, but I haven't had time yet. (Anyone want to
have a go themselves? It might kick me into finishing the Completion-UI
documentation aimed at Elisp coders...)

The Completion-UI completion sources (or "back-ends") are also fully
modular, and Henry Weller has sent me code that hooks company-mode
back-ends into Completion-UI, which I will include in the next release.

> Most of my work on company predates auto-complete
> significantly, but I didn't have the time to work on it for a while.
> Too bad that was reason enough for someone to duplicate the work.

I used to feel like this too. But now I wonder if a bit of friendly
competition is healthy. Each package has slightly different strengths: the
rather clever use of overlays to simulate tooltips in the case of
auto-complete, the vast array of sophisticated sources of completions in
company-mode, and the swiss-army-knife nature of completion-UI.

But it would still be good to integrate together the best features of
each, and it's something I've been attempting to do recently in
completion-UI. I'd be very happy to discuss and cooperate on this kind of


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