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Project Notes

Running Emacs

Time to try Emacs - up and running on MacOSX.

Notes

I’ve probably used dozens of editors over the years, Emacs is not one of them - perhaps time to change that.

I was prompted in particular by DistroTube’s “Switching to GNU Emacs” video:

example

Installing on MacOSX

I just did the homebrew install:

brew cask install emacs
==> Downloading https://emacsformacosx.com/emacs-builds/Emacs-26.3-universal.dmg
==> Downloading from https://emacsformacosx.com/download/emacs-builds/Emacs-26.3-universal.dmg
######################################################################## 100.0%
==> Verifying SHA-256 checksum for Cask 'emacs'.
==> Installing Cask emacs
==> Moving App 'Emacs.app' to '/Applications/Emacs.app'.
==> Linking Binary 'Emacs' to '/usr/local/bin/emacs'.
==> Linking Binary 'ebrowse' to '/usr/local/bin/ebrowse'.
==> Linking Binary 'emacsclient' to '/usr/local/bin/emacsclient'.
==> Linking Binary 'etags' to '/usr/local/bin/etags'.
🍺  emacs was successfully installed!

Firing Up With Some Customisations

editing

Emoji/Emoticons

When I viewed this file in Emacs, the first thing I noticed is it did’t display the brew (🍺) emoticon above.

Found a reddit thread but not solved that yet.

Verical Editing

One of the more common things I’ll do is edit multiple lines simultaneously with vertical blocks.

Hmm, it seems with Emacs it is kind of possible, but very klunky, according to Emacs: Edit Column Text, Rectangle Commands.

See also Rectangles in the manual.

Character Input Shortcuts

I commonly use Alt- for special character input e.g. "Ω µ √". Since Alt is the default Emacs "META" key, [that's a problem](https://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/MetaKeyProblems).

The only solution seems to be to map the meta key to another key e.g. the fn key. I switch, and now I have my œ∑´®†© chars back!

$ cat ~/.emacs
(setq mac-function-modifier 'meta)
(setq mac-option-modifier nil)

Other Observations

  • File load is really slow? Like a second or so for this markdown file to open. Once in the file, performance is fine.
  • The way the windo contents blank when resizing the window is really klunky (90’s GUI feel)

Conclusion

Having taken a look at the Emacs ecosystem I can understand why people like it.

Is Emacs for me? I quickly ran into a few things I take for granted in my editor that didn’t all have easy solutions, and it looks like the learning curve would be pretty steep since most of the ingrained keystrokes combos in my head are vi/m-style.

Add to that the fact that “improving my productivity in a text editor” is not even a top 100 goal, then I think not. For now at least.

Credits and References

About LCK#99 tools
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This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LittleCodingKata GitHub repository.

LittleCodingKata is my collection of programming exercises, research and code toys broadly spanning things that relate to programming and software development (languages, frameworks and tools).

These range from the trivial to the complex and serious. Many are inspired by existing work and I'll note credits and references where applicable. The focus is quite scattered, as I variously work on things new and important in the moment, or go back to revisit things from the past.

This is primarily a personal collection for my own edification and learning, but anyone who stumbles by is welcome to borrow, steal or reference the work here. And if you spot errors or issues I'd really appreciate some feedback - create an issue, send me an email or even send a pull-request.