Monthly Archives: May 2008

Emacs is unfamiliar

Getting of of “mark text” mode is difficult – Ctrl + G or 3 escapes. The Windows editor merely requires one to move the cursor without Shift pressed, and all marked text is unmarked.

Saving is harder – Ctrl + X + S as opposed to Ctrl + S in the Windows world.

Selecting text from “here” to “end” is harder:
Ctrl + Space, End, as opposed to (Ctrl + Shift) + End in the Windows world.

These are my favourite editing keys. So over a few hours it all adds up.

Other irritants: Alt + Shift + X to maximize a typical Window. But this familiar key phrase is not for Emacs.

To select all text and copy it to a new empty window so that I can edit the copy while keeping the original pristine, I wish I had: Ctrl + A, Ctrl + C, Ctrl + N, Ctrl + V.

This is all a lot of learning to do. Of coures, I expected it.

Can I condense the effort? Is there something I’m missing? Can I get back the keyboard phrases that I am used to?

Note that in these flailing efforts, I am:

  1. trying to see if there are easy ways to adapt to Emacs, and
  2. trying to see whether I can adapt Emacs

…without fighting it.

Software that helps

Some software are essential. Windows, Linux, other operating systems. I live with them, coz I can’t live without them. I’ve spent most of my onscreen life in Windows. I’m comfortable with it because I am familiar with it.

From the rest, I like the ones that just work without getting in the way. They will stay hidden until I need them. Their features are understated. But I like when a software seems to read my mind and respond to my thoughts. I specially appreciate the moment when I realize how much less I have to work to get something done, through the use of this tool.

Emacs and Lisp

I enjoyed reading this report on Lisp | Emacs: Advanced Codemunging: A Report from the Trenches

Why Ruby is my favourite platform and language

First, read about yellow, red and green code.

Ruby is the only language that I’ve encountered so far that

  • helps me separate the green code from the yellow,
  • provides enough library and community support to help me “get the job done”.

I’ve found that the elder lisps are good at keeping green and yellow apart, but I have not found library support to be very strong.

Maybe Clojure has something to contribute here.

I keep coming back to emacs

…and keep coming back.

I’m back at emacs again. I now realize that I never gave up on it. I’ve finally decided to go the route of keeping a cheat sheet open. This iteration, I’ve been through common lisp, and emacs once before. So I should be able to get more out of it.

Platforms that help you build more

Look at your favourite platform, and ask: what would you NOT have thought of building, if it hadn’t been for that platform?

I’ve found that a good way to answer that question is to look back at things that you’ve done. Looking back at what I have done in Ruby, and at what I have done in .NET/C#, have taught me a lot about the differences in the way these two platforms helped me think. .NET/C# has more support for anything I could ever think of. But C# doesn’t excite the gemcutter in me.