Re: [Evolution] How to define more keybindings

On Wed, 13 Jul 2005, Franz Schenk wrote:
maybe this question has been asked many times before, but a quick
websearch revealed only information concerning keybindings within the
calendar-part of evolution. don't know either if the
evolution-hacks-list would be more appropriate. if so, please let me
know to repost my question there!

I have written to evolution-hackers myself, and have got some
response there, a few hints which I'm investigating. The reason
is that I've been biten by a big bug which relates to the
issue you rise about keybindings. I don't yet know if the problem
is within evolution, gtkhtml (which is the editor used) or if it
is in gtk itself. Keydefinitions get destroyed and don't work
(I've located the data structure which gets destryed, but not
yet which piece of sw which does it, and unfortunatley don't have
enough time at the moment for very deep digging)

what i am looking for is the possibility to use evolution without a
mouse. there are some keybindings of course, but just for very basic
tasks like closing a window ect. but things like 'go to the next virtual
folder' or 'jump to other pane' dont work.

The keybinding power of evolution, as well as for gtk which is used for
implementation of widgets as well is currently not very powerful.

You can use a kind of emacs keys in the editor (gtkhtml editor as
well as in the standard gtk editor which is used in forms and such
I guess) but those are limited to one key only, one key with
modifiers, shift, cntrl, alt etc, but no general key bindings like
in e.g. emacs. However, with clever modifier assignments this
should anyway be doable in the way you want. (Originally the
emacs keys were also actually single key strokes,  as the
lisp machines at MIT had several modifiers, the ESC, ^X, ^C etc
sequences were added for keyboards where those modifiers
where  missing).

This is a general gui issue which I consider need to be solved
in both gnome and kde environments (I don't know much about the
kde environment as I'm using gnome). To enable emacs keys you do
gconftool-2 -s /desktop/gnome/interface/gtk_key_theme -t string Emacs
This only defines the keys within the editor environment, of some
reason the menu keys, (it affects generel editing, like forms,
navigation bar in firefox/mozilla etc), which are defined separately,
override these, which is the answer to your next question.

Is there any way to define other and more-fine-grained keybindings in
evolution? Are there any plugins for this purpose, do i have to dig in
some configuration files?

One file you can affect somewhat, even though it is not very general,
is (location depends on your gtkhml version though):
where the "standard" (using MS-windows keys) is
There are some keys named "accel" there which have to be removed to
work in the editor. This is also the place where you can change
to own definitons.

I find the whole keybinding issue in the X-window environment
somewhat messy now. Every application make there own definitions
and (hopefully) store somwhere.

Preferably it should be a set of user preferenced keys which are
always used for a specific funktion in different contexts, like
"Ctrl-E" always goes to end of line for one user, and
"End" goes to end of line for another user, and so on.

As it works now in the gnome environment it is almost like this,
but the behaviour is not consistent. Still some applications steals
keys here and there. Sometimes it is possible to redefine the keys
in the application, I'm using emacs keys in openoffice for instance.
However, only based on single key pressings, no key sequences,
like you use ^X^S for save and such in emacs.

When I've found the bug in the evolution environment I'll have a
think about how to solve this generally. It absolutely needs to be
done. Now it's like the GNU/Linux environment has been infected by
the keys from the Windows environment. This may be understandable
as more users migrating from Windows, where they are not used to
thought through or custom defined key definitions, but it is a
pain for unix hackers and geeks used to other more efficient
key definitions.

I had the same problem in gmail recently. There it works great
with the standard emacs keys, but now they have added "Rich
formatting" where suddenly keys are stolen, which means that
editing mode is quite useless. (I wrote to
to ask them to fix this). I've hard to understand the
google people doing like this, mimicking the Microsoft way,
but I guess they were just eager to relase something quick
and not all google hackers are unix hackers.

Plase come with suggestions how keys should be defined and used
in the GUI environment. It is a good start to be able to set
preferences like "emacs/vi/windows" and such, but that is not

        Best regards
        Roland Orre
        CEO, NeuroLogic Sweden AB

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