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Re: Friendly help for psql

From: Simon Riggs <simon(at)2ndquadrant(dot)com>
To: Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>
Cc: Peter Eisentraut <peter_e(at)gmx(dot)net>, pgsql-patches(at)postgresql(dot)org, Greg Sabino Mullane <greg(at)turnstep(dot)com>
Subject: Re: Friendly help for psql
Date: 2008-01-20 20:45:00
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Lists: pgsql-hackerspgsql-patches
On Sun, 2008-01-20 at 14:08 -0500, Tom Lane wrote:
> Peter Eisentraut <peter_e(at)gmx(dot)net> writes:
> > Greg Sabino Mullane wrote:
> >> Why not run help when someone enters "help" (or "HELP ME!") on the
> >> command line? \? is hardly an easy thing to remember (and some people
> >> can't be bothered to actually read the screen...)
> > Then surely the help output won't be of use to them either.
> The actual argument for doing this is nothing more nor less than
> "mysql does it like that".  99% of the people who will tell you this
> is user-friendly think so because they used mysql before coming to
> postgres.

The recourse to typing "help" at a command line when an unfamiliar
prompt appears wasn't invented for or by mysql. Most Postgres users I
meet are strung out across many apps and system utilities, so doing
obvious things like this helps them a great deal.

It's more about putting the light switch at hand-height next to the
wall, so that anybody stumbling in the dark can find it. Their next
thought will probably be "Doh! Of course, silly me", but it will still
help them. 

I'd be happy with output that explains briefly the difference between
psql and SQL commands and refers people to \? and \h. That way we don't
have to introduce too much change and this can be a forgivable special
case. (Don't like the "Help me" thing though).

  Simon Riggs

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