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Re: The apropos-dialog

> Date: Thu, 27 Feb 92 21:38:42 -0800
> From: jlouch@polyslo.csc.calpoly.edu (John Louch)
> To: info-mcl@cambridge.apple.com
> Subject: The apropos-dialog
> Lispers,
>         This is more of an request for the mcl team, but might as well 
> what other people interest are.  I use the apropos-dialog very 
frequently as 
>I teach myself mcl.  A conveinent feature would be to add the ability 
to sort
> that apropos list py package or delimit what is in the list by again a 
>  So for isntance I could easily scroll throuhg the apropos list and 
find all
> ocurrences of the symbol I am trying to find by package.  I could 
also, for
> example, turn off the viewing of mathching symbols for the class ccl, 
>then I would just get what ever is in cl-user or other active packages!
> Just an idea, I realise I could do this myself, but I rather get some 
> John

I implemented a superset of what you wanted while developing MCL/CCL 1 
at Coral.
It allowed you to filter not just by package, but by various kinds of 
Those with definitions, those with values, etc. It was a great way to 
get various views
of what was available. All the functionality was in a dialog box. You 
did no typing except
for the initial substring. If you didn't modify any of the options when 
the dialog came up,
it behaved as the existing apropos does now, ie gets EVERY symbol that 
matches the substring. 
In fact, just looking at the dialog told you that common Lisp uses 
symbols to do 
a bunch of different things. It was its own sort of on-line help 

The rest of the folks at Coral at the time felt that the 
dialog presented the user with too much information.
And, in fact, much of the time you DO simply want to type in a string
and not bother to specify whether you are looking for a function
or a variable, or whatever. We could get both functionalities if the 
simple dialog came up first but had a "Show details" button that 
expanded it to include the additional hair. [Sort of like "Show Full 
Menus" on some other Mac programs.]

My original design could now be extended to include clos stuff.
Show classes, methods of a class, slots of a class, etc. [With a string 
of "", you'd see all the items]. 
Notice that this overlaps with the Inspector. In fact, I don't think 
there should be a separation of the two. [You can get to the inspector 
from Apropos, but not the other way around.] A bunch of features in my 
original inspector are now out too, but that's another can of worms.

Perhaps info-mcl can be a forum that's better suited to figuring out 
what users really want with such tools than just my own [admittedly 
narrow] view was at Coral.