Act! Heuristics for determining intent.

Tagged as lisp
Written on 2018-12-09 14:11:18+01:00

I wrote down a little scenario for myself for the next iteration of act:

Now, there are several problems with this on a regular X11-based desktop already:

In addition, since I'm using tmux inside a terminal emulator there are some more problems:

Basically it's a recursive lookup for the "current state" of what's being displayed to the user. Not only that, but for things like browsers, image editors, video editors, anything document based it's still the same problem at another level, namely, what the current "context" is, like the currently open website, picture, video, scene, what have you.

Coming back to earlier thoughts about automation, there's no way for most of these to be accurately determined at this time. Neither is e.g. DBUS scripting common enough to "just use it" for scripting, there are also several links missing in the scenario described above and some can likely never be fixed to a sufficient degree to not rely on heuristics.

Nevertheless, with said heuristics it's still possible to get to a state where a productivity plus can be achieved with only moderate amount of additional logic to step through all the indirections between processes and presentation layers.

Now let me list a few answers to the questions raised above:

For scripting interfaces, many programs have their own little implementation of this, but most problematic here is that you want to go from a X11 window / PID to the scripting interface, not through some workaround by querying for interfaces!

For programs like Emacs and any programmable environment we can likely script something together, but again it's not a very coherent whole by any means.


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