Minor UX issue with hl-line-mode and notmuch-search

Subject: Minor UX issue with hl-line-mode and notmuch-search

Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2021 13:11:38 +0100

To: notmuch@notmuchmail.org


From: Fabio Natali

Hi All,

This is to describe a minor UX inconsistency with hl-line-mode in the
Notmuch search page.

How to reproduce: Enter the Notmuch search page, search results are
shown, no message is highlighted. Scroll down the list with your arrow
keys to trigger the highlighting.

What (I think?) should happen instead: Upon entering the search page,
the first search result should be highlighted
straightaway. Nice-to-have: see at the bottom.

By looking at the code, I think the issue may be in the way Notmuch
search hooks are called here [0].

Adding a short delay, e.g. `(sit-for 1)', before `(run-hooks
'notmuch-search-hook)' solves the issue - at the cost of having a fixed
delay though, which is unacceptable of course. An actual solution might
involve to make sure these hooks are only launched synchronously once
the buffer has been displayed?

This is a minor UX glitch but could the effects of this be more serious
should the user user redefine `notmuch-search-hook'?

Nice to have: No highlighting should happen on empty search buffers;
what we now have instead is that "End of search results" gets
highlighted when moving on top of it with your cursor. This clashes with
the idea that if it's highlighted then it's something I can select and
interact with. This is probably a wont-fix though, too hard to achieve
with the hl-line-mode machinery?

I'd be glad to hear your thoughts on this, I'm not particularly familiar
with Emacs Lisp but happy to try and contribute if I can.

Thanks and best,


- [0] https://git.notmuchmail.org/git?p=notmuch;a=blob;f=emacs/notmuch.el;h=2ef67c0e798dbc65c144cef77cd8642c506f98c0;hb=21e365f51a7ff17e5154cf06396aeafe3f7d9bd7#l1040
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