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Out now — Updated for Emacs 25

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Announcing my new Mastering Emacs book

After six months (and several years of procrastinating and chiselling away at this) I’m pleased to announce that the Mastering Emacs book will be out Soon(TM).

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It’s fair to say there’s a need for another book on Emacs.

I’ve spent four years writing about Emacs and I’ve realized what Emacs needs more than anything is a book that takes you from knowing something (or nothing) about Emacs to a point where you are comfortable. Those of you reading this who know Emacs well should know what I’m talking about: that moment of clarity when you finally understand how Emacs works.

Unfortunately Emacs’s adoption is marred by this unnecessary complexity; the confusion over the keys, the byzantine terminology, the often paradoxical functionality of common operations. They’re not hard concepts to learn (no really) – but the fragments of knowledge that you need to learn to understand this you won’t find in one single source.

The book will hopefully set out to correct that. I have spent the first 100 (out of what I plan will be a total tally of 200 pages) with the aim of teaching the reader why Emacs is the way it is – a tall order for a text editor older than a lot of its users – and what you need to know, here and now, to overcome these difficulties.

The remainder of the book is hands-on, practical Emacs Stuff: how to move around; how to edit text; how to combine all these commands and tools into what I call “workflow.” For the next-hardest thing (after you’re comfortable with Emacs) is knowing how to use the tools.

Check out the book landing page and sign up to be notified when it’s out!