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3.3: The Input Line

The last line of the screen is usually occupied by the status bar (see The Status Bar); however, whenever you have to interact with ne, for instance providing some input to a command which requires it, the last line becomes the input line. You can see this because a prompt is displayed at the start of the line, suggesting what kind of input is required. The prompt always ends with a colon, so it is impossible to miss it for an error message.

There are two essentially different ways in which input can be done: whenever ne just needs to know a simple decision which can be expressed by one character, you can type it and ne will immediately accept and use your input: it is called a immediate input. This is the case, for instance, of the prompt which asks you if you really want to quit a modified document. If, instead, a whole string is required, you can type several characters, perform some editing actions, and end your input with the RETURN key: it is called a long input. You can easily distinguish between this two modes because in immediate mode the cursor is not on the input line.

When doing a immediate input, there is usually a character appearing just after the prompt. It is the default value, which is used if you just press the RETURN key. Note that case is not significant in immediate inputs. Moreover, if a yes/no choice is requested, anything else than `y' will be considered a negative answer.

When doing a long input, there are a number of editing features available. As anywhere else in ne, knowledge reuse is the basic goal.

Essentially, you can edit the input line exactly as a line of text. All key bindings related to line editing work on the command line exactly as in a document. This is true even of custom key bindings. Thus, no particular explanation is needed here---just edit as you are used to. Moreover, the contents of the input line can be replaced by the first line of the current clip using the keystroke which is bound to the Paste command, usually CONTROL-V.

Note that if you type a line which is longer then the screen width, it is scrolled away. This allows to input very long lines even on small monitors. There is a limit of 1024 characters, but I do not really think you are going to feel it as a limitation.

There is a useful feature of long inputs: you are often offered with a default input value (for instance, if you change the TAB size, the old TAB width). If you type immediately an alphabetic character, the default value is completely erased. If instead you use any non alphabetical character (for instance, you move the cursor or delete the first character), the default input can be further edited. A simple way of keeping the default value without really doing anything is to press the BACKSPACE key (or any key which is bound to the Backspace command). No character can be deleted, but being the first key non alphabetical, the default input value will be retained.

You can always cancel a long input using F1, ESCAPE, or in general any key which is bound to the Escape command. The effect will vary depending on what your were requested to input, but in general the execution of the command requiring the input is stopped.

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