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Irritations and frustrations with improved(?) search functionality

Subject: Irritations and frustrations with improved(?) search functionality
From: Theodore Kilgore
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 18:38:47 -0500 CDT
Right now I am running MC from the Slackware-current package 
mc-20100206_git-i486-1, installed on March 2. It would seem by the name to 
be a fairly recent version, but might not be precisely equivalent to any 
release version. Some of the things which I describe below might have been 
recently fixed. But I just had to confront two of the three problems 
described below for the n-plus-first time since March 2, and I am having a 
reaction about it.

That said:

Three problems now exist with searching, both for files and for content of 
files, and for years these problems did not exist.

Problem 1: 

The F9 menu gives a "Find file" option. For some reason which eludes my 
understanding, someone has configured that not merely to search for a 
file. Oh no, that would be too simple. Nowadays, "Find file" wants to 
search not only for the file that I name, but to do a search for content, 
too, at the same time. And the content that it pulls out from somewhere 
and expects to search for does not have anything to do with any previous 
use of "Find file" either, because I have never voluntarily wanted to use 
"Find file" for any such thing. What exactly is the matter with letting 
someone do a simple search for a file by name, and not trying to make the 
simple and obvious to be complicated instead?

Problem 2:

Behavior of content search within a file using "/" or F7 seems to me to 
have been seriously degraded from what for years used to "just work."

Suppose I am searching through a file for the occurrence of a specific 
word or phrase. I might be curious for example that how many times it 
occurs in the file, and where it occurs. In fact, I would often consider 
that to be useful information. Why, oh why is it considered a clever new 
feature that the search now wraps and starts over again from the top of 
the file? And without asking me if I want to do that, or warning me that 
it is going to do that? Particularly when one of the options for the 
search consists of a box that one can check, to search the file backwards? 
Does the backwards search wrap, too, but backwards??? There is no visible 
option to check which can be kept permanent, to restore sanity. And why 
should one need an option to restore sanity when things could easily have 
been kept the way they used to be, which worked just fine. I mean, this is 
a desktop or console file manager and not Firefox, where wrapping a search 
might be considered a good and clever idea. No, MC is a tool that lots of 
people use to get work done. This is not even to mention the apparent 
un-asked-for mixing together of a past content search within a single file  
somehow into the next use of the "Find file" function (Problem 1).

Problem 3:

This is not a new one. I have mentioned it before on this list but somehow 
it has not been fixed. Namely, the two options F7 and "/" in the good old 
days used to work separately, but now they work together. In the good old 
days, which lasted for well over a decade, it was possible to open a file 
for viewing using F3, and then to search the same file for "foo" using F3 
and for "bar" using "/". If one would stop and think about it, this might 
indeed be a useful feature. I for one used to use it on routine basis. Now 
for several versions of MC this no longer works. If one searches for "foo" 
using either one of these search commands and then wants to start up the 
other one and search for "bar" then the first one will quit searching for 
"foo" and will also search for "bar." This is not an improvement, but is a 
step backwards, instead.

Now, I should say something good because otherwise whoever concocted these 
new "features" which broke old functionality and ease of use will be 
upset. So let me say that another thing I found very frustrating did get 
fixed in the release I am using. Namely, during several recent versions of 
MC the content search functions F7 and "/" were forgetting what one was 
searching for if one closed one file and opened another, and one had to 
fill out the search window all over again. This is fixed, and it works 
just like it did in the good old days before improvements were attempted 
on the search functions. Whoever fixed this, thanks. 

Theodore Kilgore
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