Those of you who are regular readers of this blog will know that I’ve recently begun trying to learn how to use the emacs editor, and have been blogging a set of emacs tutorials based on what I’ve learned so far. There’s nothing quite like a teacher that’s only a couple chapters ahead of the students right? 🙂
One thing I realize I haven’t communicated particularly well is *why* I’ve decided to learn emacs, much less why *you* should learn emacs. So today, I’m going to post links to a few of the articles and screencasts that helped to inspire me to learn emacs.
First up is an awesome screencast from Marshall Vandegrift where he quite ably demonstrates how slick a fully customized and turbo’ed out emacs can be. His screencast demonstrates emacs as a Ruby on Rails development environment, with specific comparisons to featurs of Textmate, but most of the features he demonstrates are available in any language supported by emacs.
Another good Rails on emacs screencast is this one from the author of one of a very cool Rails minor mode for emacs.
Here’s a third emacs screencast. This one from Derek Slager demonstrates the how to reformat a really ugly CSS file using some basic emacs features, mostly regex’s and macros.
Derek also has a great post called “The Case for Emacs” where he explains his reasons for preferring emacs as an editor/IDE. One of Derek’s major points, that with emacs you can use the same editor and the same bag of tricks for any language (java, C#, Ruby, Erlang, etc) is definitely high on my list of reasons for learning emacs. I like experimenting with new languages, but switching IDE’s is a pain, and once you leave the mainstream languages and start playing with languages like Erlang, Haskell, Lisp, etc. the situation is even bleaker. Unless you use emacs. 🙂
Last but not least is the always enlightening, entertaining, and certainly verbose Steve Yegge. Steve’s post on Effective Emacs was probably the final catalyst that really got me off my butt and made me decide to learn emacs. I found items #4 and #6 on Steve’s list to be particularly helpful in understanding why the primitive looking emacs might hold some productivity secrets that newer IDE’s still haven’t caught up with.
Well, there you go. Five resources to (hopefully) motivate you to learn emacs.