Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Beginner's View on Emacs

So first off, I was hired by Expected Behavior this week. I'd been doing some SEO and marketing consulting work with these guys for a while, and this is a fantastic opportunity. I'm excited about working with such a talented group of guys.

A great deal of my first week has been getting this computer set up and doing right. It's already been named Pazuzu, continuing my trend of naming my computers after famous demons, and also a delicious reference to the Exorcist.

That said, Expected Behavior is an Emacs shop. So I thought a great first post for CODETOBER would be about how I got my feet wet with Emacs.

For a long time, I really didn't understand why programmers preferred one text editor over another. But now I'm getting it. My understanding of Emacs so far is it's a text editor (as well as virtual machine, compiler, debugger, and so on and so forth) with a fanatical insistence on efficiency. If you ever leave home row, you're doing it wrong.

My initial impression? I was intimidated by Emacs, not only by the learning curve (which I understand is steep) but also by its reputation. But I don't want to be put off just because Emacs is 40 years old and doesn't work the way text editors I'm more familiar with do. If I can get past this steep ass learning curve, think of how POWERFUL I will become!

I haven't done much with Emacs so far, but my goal for this week is to get a few basic commands memorized: opening files, saving files, going to a certain line, etc. I estimate there are probably around 10 to 15 command I'll definitely use a lot of the time. Then I plan to expand the commands I've memorized, and we'll take it from there.

I also understand my friend Miles is using Emacs this month, even though he's a Vim guy. Let's all use Emacs, all the time!

1 comment:

  1. I started using vim because it is the only way to edit files when ssh'd into a server. I am getting the hang of it. Not sure of the differences between emacs and vim.