[darcs-users] darcs-2 help behavior

Dan Pascu dan at ag-projects.com
Thu Oct 9 23:21:39 UTC 2008

Matthias Kilian wrote:
> - Therefore, the complaint in the first URL you mentioned has a point
>   (--help, or -? should produce *short* output). I'm not even sure
>   wether the advanced options should be printed by darcs at all
>   (this stuff belongs into the manpage).

The whole point of --help is to quickly recall some option you need and 
then type your command without having to go to another terminal to view 
the man page. The man page has the same disadvantage as the paged help 
(you cannot type the command while reading the help output and when the 
help/man page is closed one sees at most the last viewport that was 
visible before quitting the pager/man page).

So I think that the current --help output is fine. Only access to it is 
made more difficult than needed for some use cases. If help would become 
more shallow, it would lose its appeal to me as a quick way to recall 
less used options without inspecting manuals.

> Well, for cherrypicking patches interactively, you *need* a pager
> (which is ok), and it *has* to be launched by darcs (which is ok).
> For one-shot output, darcs shouldn't even try to be smart. Just
> dump the pile of characters to stdout.
>> * one potential disadvantage of setting DARCS_PAGER to cat is that
>>   you lose the ability to explicitly request paging, for example,
>>   hitting 'p' in interactive mode to view the current patch through
>>   a pager
> Exactly. So don't pipe --help output or anything else that isn't
> interspersed with user input in interactive mode into a pager.

Exactly my point. Darcs should not try to guess what I expect it to do.


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