Emacs TODO List -*-outline-*-
Copyright (C) 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
Free Software Foundation, Inc.
See the end of the file for license conditions.
If you are ready to start working on any of these TODO items, we
appreciate your help; please write to email@example.com so we can be
aware that the problem is being addressed, and talk with you how to do
it best. Since Emacs is an FSF-copyrighted package, please be
prepared to sign legal papers to transfer the copyright on your work
to the FSF.
* Simple tasks. These don't require much emacs knowledge, they are
suitable for anyone from beginners to experts.
** Convert modes that use view-mode to be derived from special-mode instead.
** make emacsclient accept -nw as a synonym to -t.
** Replace some uses of the preprocessor code in Makefile.in with the equivalent autoconf.
** Major modes should have a menu entry. Examples of modes that do
not have one at the moment and probably should: text-mode, inferior-lisp-mode.
** Check if all items on the mode-line have a suitable tooltip for all modes.
** edebug and debugger-mode should have a toolbar.
It can use the same icons as gud.
** Check what minor modes don't use define-minor-mode and convert them
to use it.
** Convert all defvars with leading `*' in the doc-strings into defcustoms
of appropriate :type and :group.
** Remove any leading `*'s from defcustom doc-strings.
** Remove unnecessary autoload cookies from defcustoms.
This needs a bit of care, since often people have become used to
expecting such variables to always be defined, eg when they modify
things in their .emacs.
* Small but important fixes needed in existing features:
** Flymake's customization mechanism needs to be both simpler (fewer
levels of indirection) and better documented, so it is easier to
understand. I find it quite hard to figure out what compilation
command it will use.
I suggest totally rewriting that part of Flymake, using the simplest
mechanism that sufficies for the specific needs. That will be easy
for users to customize.
** Make "emacs --daemon" start emacs without showing any frame.
Use emacsclient later to open frames.
** Make it possible to reliably turn on minor modes using "mode:" in the local
** "Options -> Save Options" should save the font set via "Set Font/Fontset"
I.e. mouse-set-font should use customize-face.
** Compute the list of active keymaps *after* reading the first event.
** Distribute a bar cursor of width > 1 evenly between the two glyphs
on each side of the bar (what to do at the edges?).
** buffer-offer-save should be a permanent local.
** revert-buffer should eliminate overlays and the mark.
For related problems consult the thread starting with
** erase-buffer should perhaps disregard read-only properties of text.
** Make occur correctly handle matches that span more than one line,
as well as overlapping matches.
** Fix the kill/yank treatment of invisible text. At the moment,
invisible text is placed in the kill-ring, so that the contents of
the ring may not correspond to the text as displayed to the user.
It ought to be possible to omit text which is invisible (due to a
text-property, overlay, or selective display) from the kill-ring.
** Change the way define-minor-mode handles autoloading.
It should not generate :require. Or :require in defcustom
should not be recorded in the user's custom-set-variables call.
** Feature to change cursor shape when Emacs is idle (for more than
a specified time).
** The buttons at the top of a custom buffer should not omit
variables whose values are currently hidden.
** Clean up the variables in browse-url. Perhaps use a shell command string to
specify the browser instead of the mushrooming set of functions.
See also ESR's proposal for a BROWSER environment variable
** Enhance scroll-bar to handle tall line (similar to line-move).
** Make occur handle multi-line matches cleanly with context.
** In Custom buffers, put the option that turns a mode on or off first,
using a heuristic of some kind?
** Define recompute-arg and recompute-arg-if for fix_command to use.
See rms message of 11 Dec 05.
** Height returned by frame-parameter ... and height given to
make-frame does not mean the same thing. The former includes menu and
tool bar lines, the latter don't. frame-parameter should return height
without menu and tool bar lines.
** In Emacs Info, examples of using Customize should be clickable
and they should create Custom buffers.
** The toolbar should show keyboard equivalents in its tooltips.
** Add function to redraw the tool bar.
** M-! M-n should fetch the buffer-file-name as the default.
** Redesign the load-history data structure so it can cope better
with evaluating definitions of the same function from different files,
recording which file the latest definition came from.
** make back_comment use syntax-ppss or equivalent.
** Consider improving src/sysdep.c's search for a fqdn.
** Find a proper fix for rcirc multiline nick adding.
** Implement `network-interface-list' and `network-interface-info'
on MS-Windows. Hint: the information is present in the Registry,
under the keys
where <device> is the network device found under the first key.
** Check for any included packages that define obsolete bug-reporting commands.
Change them to use report-emacs-bug.
** Allow fringe indicators to display a tooltip (provide a help-echo property?)
** Add a defcustom that supplies a function to name numeric backup files,
like make-backup-file-name-function for non-numeric backup files.
** `dired-mode' should specify the semantics of `buffer-modified-p' for
dired buffers and DTRT WRT `auto-revert-mode'.
** Check uses of prin1 for error-handling.
* Important features:
** Having tabs above a window to switch buffers in it.
** "Perspectives" are named persistent window configurations. We have
had the window configuration mechanism in GNU Emacs since the
beginning but we have never developed a good user interface to take
advantage of them. Eclipse's user interface seems to be good.
Perspectives work well even if you do the equivalent of C-x 4 C-f
because of the distinction between view windows vs file windows. In
Emacs this is more or less the "dedicated window" feature, but we have
never really made it work for this.
Perspectives also need to interact with the tabs.
** Imenu could be extended into a file-structure browsing mechanism
using code like that of customize-groups.
** Display something in the margin on lines that have compilation
** Compilation error navigation bar, parallel to the scroll bar,
indicating where in the buffer there are compilation errors.
Perhaps we could arrange to display these error indications on top
of the scroll bar itself. That depends on to what extent toolkit
scroll bars are extensible.
** Provide user-friendly ways to list all available font families,
list fonts, display a font as a sample, etc. [fx is looking at
multilingual font selection for the Unicode branch of Emacs.]
** Provide a convenient way to select a color with the mouse.
** Rewrite the face code to be simpler, clearer and faster.
** Program Enriched mode to read and save in RTF. [Is there actually a
decent single definition of RTF? Maybe see info at
http://latex2rtf.sourceforge.net/.] This task seems to be addressed
by http://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/emacs-rtf/, which is still in
very early stages.
** Implement something better than the current Refill mode. This
probably needs some primitive support.
** Add a command to make a "Local Variables" section in the current buffer
and/or add a variable to the list.
** Implement primitive and higher-level functions to allow filling
properly with variable-pitch faces.
** Implement a smoother vertical scroll facility, one that allows
C-v to scroll through a tall image. The primitive operations
posn-at-point and posn-at-x-y should now make it doable in elisp.
** Implement intelligent search/replace, going beyond query-replace
** Implement other text formatting properties.
*** Footnotes that can appear either in place or at the end of the page.
*** text property that says "don't break line in middle of this".
Don't break the line between two characters that have the
same value of this property.
*** Discretionary hyphens that are not visible when they are at end of line.
** Internationalize Emacs's messages.
** Set up a facility to save backtraces when errors happen during
specified filters, specified timers, and specified hooks.
** Install firstname.lastname@example.org's no-flicker change.
** Add a "current vertical pixel level" value that goes with point,
so that motion commands can also move through tall images.
This value would be to point as window-vscroll is to window-start.
** Address internationalization of symbols names essentially
as documentation, e.g. in command names and Custom.
** Make the Lucid menu widget display multilingual text. [This
probably needs to be done from actual Emacs buffers, either directly
in the menu or by rendering in an unmapped window and copying the
pixels. The current code assumes a specific locale; that isn't good
enough even if X can render the arbitrary text] [The gtk
port now displays multilingual text in menus, but only insofar as
Emacs can encode it as utf-8 and gtk can display the result.]
Maybe making Lucid menus work like Gtk's (i.e. just force utf-8) is good
enough now that Emacs can encode most chars into utf-8.
** Remove the limitation that window and frame widths and heights can
be only full columns/lines.
* Other features we would like:
** Make longlines-mode wrap lines based on screen position instead
of character position, so that variable-width fonts can be handled
** Allow frames(terminals) created by emacsclient to inherit their environment
from the emacsclient process.
** Remove the default toggling behavior of minor modes when called from elisp
rather than interactively. This a trivial one-liner in easy-mode.el.
** Create a category of errors called `user-error' for errors which are
typically due to pilot errors and should thus be in debug-ignored-errors.
** Give Tar mode all the features of Archive mode.
** Create a category of errors called `process-error'
for some or all errors associated with using subprocesses.
** Maybe reinterpret `parse-error' as a category of errors
and put some other errors under it.
** A function to tell you the argument pattern of functions.
See `function-arity' in http://www.loveshack.ukfsn.org/emacs/fx-misc.el.
** Make byte-compile warn when a doc string is too wide.
** Make byte-optimization warnings issue accurate line numbers.
** A function to check for customizable options that have been
set but not saved, and ask the user whether to save them.
This could go in kill-emacs-query-functions, to remind people
to save their changes. If the user says yes, show them
in a Custom buffer using customize-customized.
** Record the sxhash of the default value for customized variables
and notify the user (maybe by adding a menu item or toolbar button,
as the detection can occur during autoload time) when the default
changes (meaning that new versions of the Lisp source with a changed
default value got installed) and offer ediff on the respective
** Emacs Lisp mode could put an overlay on the defun for every
function that has advice. The overlay could have `after-text' like
" [Function has advice]". It might look like (defun foo [Function
has advice] (x y) The overlay could also be a button that you could
use to view the advice.
** Add a function to get the insertion-type of the markers in an overlay.
*** understand sftp
This is hard to make work because sftp doesn't print status
*** Use MLS for ange-ftp-insert-directory if a list of files is specified.
** Ability to map a key, including all modified-combinations.
E.g map mouse-4 to wheel-up as well as M-mouse-4 -> M-wheel-up
M-C-mouse-4 -> M-C-wheel-up, H-S-C-M-s-double-mouse-4 ->
** Beefed-up syntax-tables.
*** recognize multi-character syntactic entities like `begin' and `end'.
*** nested string-delimiters (for Postscript's (foo(bar)baz) strings).
*** support for infix operators (with precedence).
*** support for the $ (paired delimiter) in parse-partial-sexp.
*** support for hook-chars whose effect on the parsing-state is specified
by elisp code. Thus a char could both close a string and open a comment
at the same time and do it in a context-sensitive way.
*** ability to add mode-specific data to the partial-parse-state.
** Add a way to convert a keyboard macro to equivalent Lisp code.
** Have a command suggestion help system that recognizes patterns
of commands which could be replaced with a simpler common command.
It should not make more than one suggestion per 10 minutes.
** Add a way to define input methods by computing them (when first used)
from other input methods. Then redefine C-x 8 to use a
user-selected input method, with the default being the union of
latin-1-prefix and latin-1-postfix.
** Switch the Windows port to using Unicode keyboard input (maybe).
Based on http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms633586.aspx,
this boils down to (1) calling RegisterClassW function to register
Emacs windows, and (2) modifying ALL system messages to use Unicode.
In particular, WM_CHAR messages, which result from keyboard input,
will then come in encoded in UTF-16.
One advantage of switching to Unicode is to toss encoded-kbd usage,
which will solve the problem with binding non-ASCII keys with
Problem: using this on Windows 9x/ME requires installing the
Microsoft Layer for Unicode (MSLU), which might not implement all
the required functionality that is available built-in on Windows XP
and later. We should not make this change if it would pressure
users of unauthorized copies of older versions of Windows to
downgrade to versions that require activation.
** Implement a clean way to use different major modes for
different parts of a buffer. This could be useful in editing
Bison input files, for instance, or other kinds of text
where one language is embedded in another language. See
http://www.loveshack.ukfsn.org/emacs/multi-mode.el and also
mmm-mode, as reference for approaches taken by others.
** Arrange a way for an input method to return the first character
immediately, then replace it later. So that C-s a with
input method latin-1-postfix would immediately search for an a.
** Give start-process the ability to direct standard-error
output to a different filter.
** Make desktop.el save the "frame configuration" of Emacs (in some
** Give desktop.el a feature to switch between different named
** Replace finder.el with something that generates an Info file
which gives the same information through a menu structure. [Dave
Love started on this.]
** Add a cpio mode, more or less like tar mode.
** Save undo information in special temporary files, and reload it
when needed for undoing. This could extend undo capacity.
** Change the Windows NT menu code
so that it handles the deep_p argument and avoids
regenerating the whole menu bar menu tree except
when the user tries to use the menubar.
This requires the RIT to forward the WM_INITMENU message to
the main thread, and not return from that message until the main
thread has processed the MENU_BAR_ACTIVATE_EVENT and regenerated
the whole menu bar. In the mean time, it should process other messages.
** Get some major packages installed: W3 (development version needs
significant work), PSGML, _possibly_ Cedet and ECB.
Check the assignments file for other packages which might go in and
have been missed.
** Possibly install python-mode in place of python.el, or combine the two.
Someone needs to do the work of figuring out who all the non-trivial
python-mode.el contributors are and getting assignments.
** Make keymaps a first-class Lisp object (this means a rewrite of
keymap.c). What should it do apart from being opaque ?
multiple inheritance ? faster where-is ? no more fix_submap_inheritance ?
what else ?
** Provide real menus on ttys. The MS-DOS implementation can serve as
an example how to do part of this; see the XMenu* functions on msdos.c.
** Implement popular parts of the rest of the CL functions as compiler
macros in cl-macs.
** Make compiler warnings about functions that might be undefined at run time
smarter, so that they know which files are required by the file being
compiled and don't warn about functions defined in them.
** Highlight rectangles (`mouse-track-rectangle-p' in XEmacs). Already in CUA,
but it's a valuable feature worth making more general.
** Provide MIME support for Rmail using the Gnus MIME library. [Maybe
not now feasible, given Gnus maintenance decisions. fx looked at
this and can say where some of the problems are.]
** Eliminate the storm of warnings concerning char/unsigned char
mismatches that we get with GCC 4.x and proprietary compilers on
various systems. They make it difficult to spot the important
** Fix anything necessary to use `long long' EMACS_INTs with GCC.
** Split out parts of lisp.h and generate Makefile dependencies
** Update the FAQ.
** Allow auto-compression-mode to use zlib calls if zlib is available.
[It's required for PNG, so may be linked anyhow.]
** Add a --pristine startup flag which does -q --no-site-file plus
ignoring X resources (Doze equivalents?) and most of the
environment. What should not be ignored needs consideration.
[Do the existing -Q and -D cover this, or is more needed?]
** Improve the GC (generational, incremental). (We may be able to use
the Boehm collector.) [See the Boehm-GC branch in CVS for work on
** Check what hooks would help Emacspeak -- see the defadvising in W3.
** Add definitions for symbol properties, for documentation purposes.
** Add horizontal scroll bars.
** Provide an optional feature which computes a scroll bar slider's
size and its position from lines instead of characters.
** Allow unknown image types to be rendered via an external program
converting them to, say, PBM (in the same way as PostScript?). [does
doc-view.el do this, or could it be extended to do this?]
** Allow displaying an X window from an external program in a buffer,
e.g. to render graphics from Java applets. [gerd and/or wmperry
thought this was feasible.]
** Allow images (not just text) in the margin to be mouse-sensitive.
(Requires recursing through display properties). Provide some way
to simulate mouse-clicks on marginal text without a mouse.
** Implement Lisp functions to determine properly whether a character
is displayable (particularly needed in XFree 4, sigh). Use it to
define useful glyphs that may be displayed as images or unicodes
(with ASCIIfied fallback via latin1-disp). Examples include
box-drawing graphics in Custom buffers, W3 rules and tables, and
tree displays generally, mode-line mail indicator. [See work done
already for Emacs 23 and consult fx.]
** Do something to make rms happy with fx's dynamic loading, and use it
to implement things like auto-loaded buffer parsers and database
access in cases which need more than Lisp.
** Extend ps-print to deal with multiple font sizes, images, and extra
** Provide portable undumping using mmap (per gerd design).
** Make byte-compile avoid binding an expanded defsubst's args
when the body only calls primitives.
** Use the XIE X extension, if available, for image display.
** Make monochrome images display using the foreground and background
colors of the applicable faces.
** Make `format-time-string' preserve text properties like `format'.
** Optionally make the cursor a little thinner at the end of a line
or the end of the buffer.
** Port the conservative stack marking code of Emacs' garbage collector
to more systems, so that we can completely get rid of GCPROs. Note
that Boehm garbage collector provides this.
** Reorder defcustom's in each package so that the more important
options come first in the Customize buffers. This could be done by
either rearranging the file (since options are shown in the order
they appear in the *.el files), or by adding a few :set-after
** Maybe document the features of libraries missing from the manual (or
ancillary manuals, including the Lisp manual in some cases).
This is not worth doing for all of these packages and we need not
aim for completeness, but some may be worth documenting.
Here's a list which is probably not complete/correct: align, allout,
artist, ansi-color, array, battery, calculator, cdl, cmuscheme,
completion, cua, delim-col, dirtrack, double, echistory, elide-head,
easymenu, expand, flow-ctrl, format [format-alist],
generic/generic-x [various modes], kermit, log-edit, ledit
[obsolete?], makesum, midnight [other than in Kill Buffer node],
mouse-copy [?], mouse-drag, mouse-sel, net-utils, rcompile,
snmp-mode [?], soundex [should be interactive?], strokes [start from
the web page], talk, thingatpt [interactive functions?], type-break,
vcursor, xscheme, zone-mode [?], mlconvert [?], iso-cvt, iso-swed,
swedish, feedmail [?], uce, bruce, gametree, meese, page-ext,
refbib, refer, scribe, sgml-mode, spell, texinfo, underline,
cmacexp, hideif, mantemp [obsolete?], pcomplete, assoc, xml,
cvs-status (should be described in PCL-CVS manual); other progmodes,
probably in separate manual.
** Convert the XPM bitmaps to PPM, replace the PBMs with them and scrap
the XPMs so that the color versions work generally. (Requires care
with the color used for the transparent regions.)
** Convenient access to the `values' variable. It would be nice to have an
interface that would show you the printed reps of the elements of the
list in a menu, let you select one of the values, and put it into some
other variable, without changing the value of `values'.
** (Controlled by a flag) make open and close syntax match exactly,
i.e. `(' doesn't match `]'.
** Specify parameter ID-FORMAT in all calls to `file-attributes' and
`directory-files-and-attributes' where attributes UID or GID are used.
Whenever possible, use value 'string.
When done, change meaning of default value from 'integer to 'string.
If value 'integer is used nowhere, remove the parameter ID-FORMAT from
the definition of `file-attributes' and `directory-files-and-attributes'
and from the calls.
** Make language-info-alist customizable. Currently a user can customize
only the variable `current-language-environment'.
** Improve language environment handling so that Emacs can fit
better to a users locale. Currently Emacs uses utf-8 language
environment for all utf-8 locales, thus a user in ja_JP.UTF-8 locale
are also put in utf-8 lang. env. In such a case, it is
better to use Japanese lang. env. but prefer utf-8 coding system.
** Enhance locale handling: handle language, territory and charset
orthogonally and de-emphasize language environments. Use the locale
to set up more things, such as fontsets, the default Ispell
dictionary, diary format, calendar holidays and display, quoting
characters and phrase boundaries, sentence endings, collation for
sorting (at least for unicodes), HTTP Accept-language, patterns for
directory listings and compilation messages, yes-or-no replies,
common menu items when the toolkit supports it ... `locale-info'
needs extending for LC_COLLATE &c. [fx started on this.]
** Eliminate the current restriction on header printing by ps-print.
Currently, a header can contain only single 1-byte charset in
addition to ASCII.
** In ps-print, provide an user friendly interface to specify fonts.
** Enhance word boundary detection for such a script that doesn't use
space at word boundary (e.g. Thai).
** Implement interface programs with major Japanese conversion server
in lib-src so that they can be used from the input method
"japanese". Currently, most Japanese users are using external
packages (e.g. tamago, anthy) or an input method via XIM.
** Let LEIM handle the Mode_switch key like XIM does (i.e. a toggle like C-\
but which can also be used as a modifier).
** Improve Help buffers: Change the face of previously visited links (like
Info, but also with regard to namespace), and give the value of
lisp expressions, e.g auto-mode-alist, the right face.
** Possibly make `list-holidays' eval items in the calendar-holidays variable.
[email@example.com will look at this after 22.1]
** Possibly make cal-dst use the system timezone database directly.
** Possibly add a "close" button to the modeline.
The idea is to add an "X" of some kind, that when clicked deletes
the window associated with that modeline.
* Internal changes
** Cleanup all the GC_ mark bit stuff -- there is no longer any distinction
since the mark bit is no longer stored in the Lisp_Object itself.
** Refine the `predicate' arg to read-file-name.
Currently, it mixes up the predicate to apply when doing completion and the
one to use when terminating the selection.
** Merge ibuffer.el and buff-menu.el.
More specifically do what's needed to make ibuffer.el the default,
or just an extension of buff-menu.el.
** Use pcomplete by default in shell-mode.
This means to make it behave (by default) more like the current code.
Use it also for read-shell-command, M-x compile, ...
** Merge sendmail.el and messages.el.
Probably not a complete merge, but at least arrange for messages.el to be
a derived mode of sendmail.el. Or arrange for messages.el to be split
into a small core and "the rest" so that we use less resources as long as
we stick to the features provided in sendmail.el.
** Replace gmalloc.c with the modified Doug Lea code from the current
GNU libc so that the special mmapping of buffers can be removed --
that apparently loses under Solaris, at least. [fx has mostly done
** Rewrite make-docfile to be clean and maintainable.
** Add an inferior-comint-minor-mode to capture the common set of operations
offered by major modes that offer an associated inferior
comint-derived mode. I.e. basically make cmuscheme.el/inf-lisp.el generic.
For use by sml-mode, python-mode, tex-mode, scheme-mode, lisp-mode,
haskell-mode, tuareg-mode, ...
** Make SYNC_INPUT the default. [true since 2008-03-11]
All loops using immediate_quit need to be checked to ensure that
C-g can interrupt them, in case of an infinite loop. Once we
switch to using SYNC_INPUT, we can remove the BLOCK_INPUTs in the
allocation functions (allocate_string etc.) without worrying about
** Add "link" button class
Add a standard button-class named "link", and make all other link-like
button classes inherit from it. Set the default face of the "link" button
class to the standard "link" face.
* Other known bugs:
** `make-frame' forgets unhandled parameters, at least for X11 frames.
** a two-char comment-starter whose two chars are symbol constituents will
not be noticed if it appears within a word.
** Fix unexelf.c to handle the .data.rel and .data.rel.local
sections made by GCC 3.4 on IRIX.
This file is part of GNU Emacs.
GNU Emacs is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.
GNU Emacs is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
GNU General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with GNU Emacs. If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.
;;; arch-tag: b0a3e40b-726a-457d-9999-ba848321b036