Change Log of Dired Preview
Automatically preview files in Dired
This document contains the release notes for each tagged commit on the project's main git repository: https://git.sr.ht/~protesilaos/dired-preview.
The newest release is at the top. For further details, please consult the manual: https://protesilaos.com/emacs/dired-preview.
dired-preview package was in a public testing phase
from 2023-06-25 until today. In the meantime, lots of changes have
been made in the interest of usability and robustness.
Global and buffer-local modes
dired-preview-mode is a local minor mode, while
dired-preview-global-mode is its global counterpart. Both only take
effect in Dired buffers.
The idea for a global and a local mode is to empower the user to toggle the functionality on demand, such as when they are in a meeting and want to disable/enable previews in a given context.
During the development phase, I had made an error regarding the scope of what should be a local minor mode. Thanks to Christian Tietze for pointing it out: https://lists.sr.ht/~protesilaos/general-issues/%3Cm1zg4noej2.fsf%40christiantietze.de%3E.
Preview delay runs on an idle timer
Originally, previews would run on a timer that would block Emacs.
Whereas we now arrange to only trigger a preview when Emacs is idle
for a customisable amount of seconds. Refer to the user option
Trigger a preview in the post-command phase
In the original design, previews were triggered by bespoke
dired-preview commands that were remapped to
p in Dired
buffers. This had several downsides, namely, (i) the other motions
would not pick up the trigger, (ii) we would have to remap all
possible motions, and (iii) the code was needlessly complex.
Currently, we install a local hook in the post-command phase, which will trigger a preview if the previous command was a Dired motion. In future versions, we may expand the list of commands that we check for.
Thanks to Peter Prevos for reporting this in issue 1 on the GitHub mirror: https://github.com/protesilaos/dired-preview/issues/1.
Thanks to Christian Tietze and Ed Hamilton for discussing this topic with me on the mailing list: https://lists.sr.ht/~protesilaos/general-issues/%3Cm1zg4noej2.fsf%40christiantietze.de%3E. Commit ae93720 by Christian Tietze is based on this discussion, although the implementation details have since been redone.
During the development phase, I had made the mistake of checking the
last-command, whereas I should be testing against the
this-command. Thanks to Karthik Chikmagalur for pointing out my
The placement of the preview window is customisable
We arrange to display previews in a side window. Due to the inherent
complexity of the
display-buffer function and its accoutrements, a
user option is necessarily reserved for experienced users. To this
end, we provide the
Refer to the
dired-preview-display-action-alist-dwim function for
the implementation details.
Thanks to Karthik Chikmagalur for making an initial suggestion about such a feature: https://lists.sr.ht/~protesilaos/general-issues/%3C87jzvp484n.fsf%40gmail.com%3E
Thanks to Bruno Boal for discussing the user option and concomitant function with me and for checking the relevant definitions. This was done via a private channel and the information is shared with permission.
Window placement and deletion is more robust
The idea of "preview" windows is that they are not ordinary windows that the user can interact with. As such, they are to be deleted when some non-preview mode of action is taken.
Testing for such cases was extensive and required lots of changes to the code base. Thanks to Bruno Boal for performing the tests with me, for brainstorming possible solutions, and for inspecting the implementation details. This was done via a private channel and the information is shared with permission.
We no longer try to preview irregular files
dired-preview would attempt to produce a preview of named
pipes and sockets. This was not intended and has since been
addressed. Use 'file-regular-p' instead of 'file-exists-p'
Thanks to Karthik Chikmagalur for bringing this matter to my attention
and for recommending the use of
file-regular-p instead of
Preview buffers are killed up to a cumulative size threshold
In the original design, we were killing preview buffers all at once. This was wasteful because all the work we were doing in the background to, for example, fetch a large file was discarded even though the user could theoretically request another preview of it.
The current approach is to keep around the newer buffers in order to
speed up potential requests for another preview. Older buffers are
discarded starting from the oldest. The clearance of older buffers is
done until we reach a cumulative size of what is specified as the
value of the variable
Note that the symbol includes double dashes, meaning that it is intended for "private" (internal) purposes. I am mentioning it here, because this seems like a good candidate for a future user option, subject to further refinements.
Thanks to Bruno Boal for suggesting this idea and checking its implementation with me. This was done via a private channel and the information is shared with permission.