Axis Normal View Animation
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I have a patch that will animate the current view when switching to front,
side, or top view. It's a little bit of eye candy, but I think it really
helps out with becoming disoriented when switching to an axis normal view.

The way it works is when the numpad 1,3, or 7 key is pressed, rather than
snapping right to that view, it will animate the rotation between the
current view and the new view over 1/2 a second. What's nice about this
is the user can visually track the view camera orientation so that when
blender ends up in the axis normal orientation, the user has been "flown"
into the new orientation and is not suddenly disoriented.

I first saw this trick used in SolidWorks. The code is very simple and
could/should be a user definable option. I'll submit the patch for people
to try. Please try the patch if you want to try this out.