Icicles - La Petite Histoire

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La Petite Histoire

1. elect-mbuf.el

Library icicles.el started out life as library `elect-mbuf.el’, by Hans Koomen.

  Original posting:
  From koomen@cs.rochester.edu Mon Jun 19 19:27:58 1989
  To: info-gnu-emacs@prep.ai.mit.edu
  Cc: Hans <Koomen@cs.rochester.edu>
  Subject: elect-mbuf.el
  Date: Tue, 13 Jun 89 15:17:07 -0400

2. Minor enhancements

I hacked and enhanced the library in various relatively minor ways over the years, maintaining it as `elect-mbuf.el’. I did not change the main functionality of the library during this period: it always cycled the complete list of (prefix) completion candidates passed to ‘completing-read’; it did not update the candidate list based on the current minibuffer contents.

So, for instance, if you had ‘M-x for’ in the minibuffer, ‘down’ would cycle among all Emacs commands, not just those that start with “for”. I used the library this way for fifteen years without thinking much about this behavior or the code behind it.

3. Use the current input

In July 2005, LennartBorgman gave `elect-mbuf.el’ a quick try, and intuitively expected to see behavior along the lines that you see now for Icicles prefix completion:

Good idea Lennart. So I implemented that behavior, and renamed the library Icicles (for, I suppose, “input cycles” or some such – or because it’s cool ;-)).

4. Apropos completion

The code changes I made to implement #3 (completion cycling relative to current input) made me realize that other completion matchings could be implemented in a similar way. Prefix completion (the completion provided by Emacs) is handy, but it is also sometimes a bit limited. The idea of apropos completion occurred to me, and I implemented that as well.

5. File names and more

I extended the library quite a bit more, in terms of convenience (highlighting, treatment of buffer ‘*Completions*’,…, but also in terms of functionality. In particular, it now treats file names too. And, because Emacs 21 and later versions use ‘read-file-name’ for ‘find-file’ and so on, Icicles now treats ‘read-file-name’ the same as ‘completing-read’.

6. Delete Selection mode

On another suggestion from LennartBorgman, I made Icicles take advantage of Delete Selection mode. And I implemented it as a minor mode.

7, 8, 9,… On Beyond Zebra

One thing has led to another, and I’ve just kept adding features. Feature creep, I guess. But the more I play with Icicles, the more I imagine new ways it might be made more useful.


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DrewsElispLibraries referenced here: Lisp:icicles.el

CategoryCommands CategoryCompletion CategoryRegexp CategoryDirectories CategoryFiles CategoryCode