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Belated First Anniversary

by mickey on November 10th, 2011

A little more than a year ago I set out to write a blog about the things I knew about Emacs. I had been collecting tips, concepts and snippets in a large org file for years with the goal of one day sharing what I knew with other people. I picked up Emacs when I was in University having heard about it before, but never really used it. All I knew about it was that it was really advanced, had meta keys and came with a built-in psychotherapist (try it — M-x doctor.)

When I mentioned this to someone more experienced in the world of editor-fu at the University’s computer science society, he told me that he used vim, and it was the editor of choice bar none, and that no other editor was worth using; that the modal concept was superior in every way to Emacs, and I was a fool for considering a fate worse than death if I defied his sage advice.

I immediately started using Emacs, and I have never looked back.

But I never had the opportunity to learn from an Emacs master myself. So when I finally sat down and wrote my first article a little more than a year ago I wrote it with the assumption that simply knowing what a keystroke does is not enough if you want to master Emacs; you must understand the why and not just the how. Thankfully, although Emacs has a steep learning curve, once you “get” it — you get it. And reaching that step is not an unattainable goal if you try to grasp the why. I remember when it finally “clicked” for me and I finally got how the editor functioned and why it functioned the way it did. Unfortunately, to achieve this level of enlightenment will involve a smidgeon of Lisp — and that’s probably what puts off most people. If you are an Emacs user and you are put off by elisp — overcome it and give it a shot. Elisp is arguably the most practical application of Lisp for most professional developers. You can write it, use it right away, and enrich your Emacs experience at the same time.

As I’ve written quite a few articles I have come to the realization that finding stuff on my site is, ah, not that easy. Therefore, I have created a reading guide to help newcomers find their way around.

Here’s to another year.

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10 Comments
  1. Mahmoud permalink

    Congratulations for the first anniversary. Your blog is one of the best in Emacs blogging world and your topics, although do not come out frequently, are very well written and really full of very useful stuff. Keep going with all the best.

    • mickey permalink

      Yeah I need to write more! Thanks for the kind words.

  2. Phil permalink

    Happy 1st, Mickey, and thanks for the many fine articles thus far. They’re always well-written, informative, and generally a pleasure to read.

  3. Happy Anniversary !!! And thank you for this wonderful Emacs blog.

  4. Mick – I’m a recent addition to your readership. I very much like what I have read so far, and hope that I can plumb the depths of your knowledge using your reading guide. Thanks for all the work!

  5. Tom Roche permalink

    Another guy who just stumbled on your blog today. Great stuff! But since no good deed goes unpunished :-) I gotta ask, when’s the article covering All Things Python in Emacs coming out? IMHO, though I drank the emacs koolaid many years ago, I find emacs’ support for python (not to mention the appalling social dynamics that appear to have caused that) to be A Gaping Wound in The One True Editor. (Another being the lack of a Comprehensive Emacs Archive Network–ISTM we have 19 (just guessing) separate uncomprehensive ones.) So I’d definitely be interested in your take on what Gallina’s doing (about which I knew not before reading your post), Andreas Röhler’s revival of python-mode, et no doubt al (this being emacs :-)

    • mickey permalink

      Hi Tom,

      Yeah – the python mode thing is a sordid affair. It’s long been a goal of mine to set it straight and I really ought to do so now that Emacs 24 is around the corner.

      Thanks for your feedback :)

      Mickey.

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