Endless Parentheses

Concise ramblings on Emacs productivity.

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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