[TxMt] i-search in TextMate

Josh DiMauro jdimauro at gmail.com
Mon Nov 29 01:48:11 UTC 2004

On Mon, 29 Nov 2004 01:00:00 +0100, Allan Odgaard <allan at macromates.com> wrote:

> But Mail/iTunes/etc. filter the contents based on the string typed. As
> I understand it (and currently see the iSearch plugin function) this
> incremental search selects a single item and does no filtering.

Filtering makes more sense in a "browser" function such as Spotlight,
IMO. In an editor, filtering may cause trouble, by removing necessary
context. Consider the annoyance of searching for a "<h3>links</h3>"
header, and not being able to see what links follow it, which would be
the information you need to know what particular header you wanted.

(yeah, yeah. Comment your code. Pretend you're editing someone else's
sloppy code, then. :))

> So this is (as I see it) realtime feedback on the string you enter in
> the find panel (but no new functionality).

No new functionality beyond the realtime feedback itself, but the
realtime feedback is itself important. :)
> With my typing speed I probably have the find panel open for less than
> a second, so incremental search wouldn't do anything for me

I type quickly, as well. However, the difference between opening a
dialog box and incremental search is one of not having to shift the
locus of my attention. The locus of my attention, in a text editor,
should be at "point" (to use an emacsism). I don't fault you for not
being distracted by the Find dialog box, but for myself (and others, I
suspect) it is an issue.

> That's the reason why I asked if it gave rise to shorter find strings
> -- I can imagine that with lesser/no knowledge about the text searched
> and/or a slower typing speed and/or more reliance on the visual
> feedback given while typing, it could be an advantage to type
> letter-by-letter until observing that enough had been typed to find the
> desired string.

That's pretty much it... but the advantage is less the shorter find
string, and more the ability to fine tune by either narrowing or
widening the search with a couple keystrokes, without having to reopen
a dialog box. The difference is subtle, but (I feel) important.

> Speaking in general here, I don't mind implementing features that I
> personally have no use for, but I do want to understand why others have
> a use for the feature before implementing it! :)

Quite understandable. :) 

Incremental search seems to be one of those things that makes a subtle
difference in reducing resistance to use. It's not so much that I need
it to do all my searching. It's more that, when I don't have it
available, I search less, and that makes me less efficient.

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