Endless Parentheses

Concise ramblings on Emacs productivity.

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Meta Binds Part 2: A peeve with paragraphs

Emacs is an intelligent editor in more ways than one. Instead of hardcoding its movement functions (such as end-of-defun or forward-paragraph), they're implemented in terms of delimiters which are configured by each major-mode. It works beautifully for functions, but it feels like a stone in my shoe for paragraphs.

Say what you will, but a paragraph delimiter is a blank line. Whichever mode I'm in, that's where I expect to go when I hit M-e and it annoys me to no end when some major-mode changes that.

(global-set-key "\M-a" 'endless/backward-paragraph)
(global-set-key "\M-e" 'endless/forward-paragraph)

(defun endless/forward-paragraph (&optional n)
"Advance just past next blank line."
(interactive "p")
(let ((para-commands
'(endless/forward-paragraph endless/backward-paragraph)))
;; Only push mark if it's not active and we're not repeating.
(or (use-region-p)
(not (member this-command para-commands))
(member last-command para-commands)
;; The actual movement.
(dotimes (_ (abs n))
(if (> n 0)
(skip-chars-forward "\n[:blank:]")
(skip-chars-backward "\n[:blank:]"))
(if (search-forward-regexp
"\n[[:blank:]]*\n[[:blank:]]*" nil t (cl-signum n))
(goto-char (match-end 0))
(goto-char (if (> n 0) (point-max) (point-min)))))))

(defun endless/backward-paragraph (&optional n)
"Go back up to previous blank line."
(interactive "p")
(endless/forward-paragraph (- n)))

By no means am I the first to be bothered by this. Both Xah Lee and Magnar Sveen, for instance, also complain about this in html-mode (I'm more bothered by LaTeX-mode). Had I the bravery to delve into the mailing lists, I'd no doubt find posts on this that are older than me.

Does paragraph navigation ever get on your nerves?

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