Emacs: Friend or Foe?

Frustrated with Emacs? Here's how to wrestle it into submission.
Miscellaneous Customizations

There are several small items that you might want to configure to depart from Emacs' default behavior. I'm going to list the code for these briefly below; none of them involve new concepts other than those discussed above. The comments should describe these customizations adequately.

;; Allow M-j, M-k, M-h, M-l to move cursor,
;; similar to vi.
(global-set-key "\M-j" 'next-line)
(global-set-key "\M-k" 'previous-line)
(global-set-key "\M-h" 'backward-char)
(global-set-key "\M-l" 'forward-char)
;; Commonly used buffer commands, requiring
;; less use of CTRL
;; (For the ergonomically-minded.)
(global-set-key "\C-xf" 'find-file)
(global-set-key "\C-xs" 'save-buffer)
;; Open a line below the current one; as in "o" in vi
(defun my-open-line ()
  (interactive "*")
  (end-of-line nil)
  (insert ?\n))
(global-set-key "\C-o" 'my-open-line)
;; Make the current buffer the only visible one,
;; and recenter it.
(defun my-recenter-frame ()
   (interactive "")
   (delete-other-windows)
   (recenter))
(global-set-key "\C-l 'my-recenter-frame)
;; Save all buffers and kill Emacs, without prompting
(defun my-save-buffers-kill-emacs (arg)
   (interactive "P")
   (save-buffers-kill-emacs t))
(global-set-key "\C-x\C-c" 'my-save-buffers-kill-emacs)
;; Preserve original save-buffers-kill-emacs,
;; in case we don't want
;; to save what we were doing
(global-set-key "\C-x\C-x" 'save-buffers-kill-emacs)
;; Real Programmers don't use backup files
(setq make-backup-files 'nil)
;; But Real Programmers do use RCS. Includes
;; rcsid[] definition in a C source file
(defun my-c-insert-rcsid ()
   (interactive "*")
   (insert "static char rcsid[] = \"@(#)$Header$\";"))
(define-key c-mode-map "\C-c\C-x" 'my-c-insert-rcsid)
;; Finally, prevent next-line command from adding
;; newlines at the
;; end of the document. Instead, ring the bell when
;; at the end of
;; the buffer.
(setq next-line-add-newlines 'nil)

I hope that this whirlwind tour through the world of Emacs customization has been useful, or, at least entertaining. I've found many of the above modifications to be invaluable. Remember the old saying: Have Elisp, will travel.

That being said, it's back to vi for a while.

Getting the Emacs LISP Manual

Matt Welsh (mdw@sunsite.unc.edu) is a programmer at the Cornell University Robotics and Vision Laboratory. He spends his free time homebrewing virtual beer and playing the blues.

______________________

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Thanks - nice article for an

eyolf's picture

Thanks - nice article for an new emacs convert (from vi...)
A couple of typos in the code for multiple key sequences:

; Various keys for nuking text (global-unset-key "\C-d")
(global-set-key "\C-d g" 'my-nuke-to-end)
(global-set-key "\C-d\C-d" 'my-nuke-line)

which I believe should be:

; Various keys for nuking text
(global-unset-key "\C-d")
(global-set-key "\C-dg" 'my-nuke-to-end)
(global-set-key "\C-d\C-d" 'my-nuke-line)

At least that worked for me.

Compare with this..

ILoveEmacs's picture

Ever tried viper mode?

Webinar
One Click, Universal Protection: Implementing Centralized Security Policies on Linux Systems

As Linux continues to play an ever increasing role in corporate data centers and institutions, ensuring the integrity and protection of these systems must be a priority. With 60% of the world's websites and an increasing share of organization's mission-critical workloads running on Linux, failing to stop malware and other advanced threats on Linux can increasingly impact an organization's reputation and bottom line.

Learn More

Sponsored by Bit9

Webinar
Linux Backup and Recovery Webinar

Most companies incorporate backup procedures for critical data, which can be restored quickly if a loss occurs. However, fewer companies are prepared for catastrophic system failures, in which they lose all data, the entire operating system, applications, settings, patches and more, reducing their system(s) to “bare metal.” After all, before data can be restored to a system, there must be a system to restore it to.

In this one hour webinar, learn how to enhance your existing backup strategies for better disaster recovery preparedness using Storix System Backup Administrator (SBAdmin), a highly flexible bare-metal recovery solution for UNIX and Linux systems.

Learn More

Sponsored by Storix