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2.1 Terminology

In this section we explain and contrast some of the terms ne uses. Understanding these distinctions will go a long way towards making the rest of this manual make sense.

A file is a group of bytes stored on disk. This may seem rather obvious, but the important distinction here is that ne does not edit files; it edits documents.

A document is what ne calls one of the “text thingies” that you can edit. It is a sequence of lines of text in the computer’s memory—not on disk.2 Documents can be created, edited, saved in files, loaded from files, discarded, et cetera. When a document is loaded from or saved to a file, it remains associated with that file by name until the document is either closed or saved to a different file. Interactions between documents and files are handled by the commands under the ‘File’ menu. The ‘Documents’ menu commands only deal with documents. See Menus.

Internally, ne holds its documents in buffers. A buffer is a chunk of memory in which ne holds something. For example, each document is held in its own buffer, as are any loaded or recorded macros, undo records, a copy of your last deleted line of text, a copy of all your previous responses to long input, and several other things.



Actually, it can be in a region of the disk used to simulate a larger memory. ne will switch to such a simulation whenever the computer’s memory is not sufficient for editing a file. This means, in particular, that out-of-memory errors can be caused by insufficient disk space, too.