2021-01-03 - Emacs-ing it Up
I've been using Emacs a decent amount since about 2014, so thats 6 years now. In that time I've:
- Consistently used org-mode for work and personal notes and To-Dos. This is what got me started on Emacs. It's great!
- Used org-mode and org-publish for a blog, before I jumped to Gemini. Now I write simple Gemtext only pages in Emacs.
- Often used mu4e for email, in the past 3 years.
- Generally used it as an editor of choice for simple stuff.
- Had an on-off relationship with Emacs for my Python, JS, and Go programming work, which has been more on than off since lsp-mode and the native JSON handling which benefited that came in.
- Slowly slimmed down the packages and eye-candy I've been using, arriving at a rather old-fashioned looking grey Emacs.
I started off with Emacs via Spacemacs, having been an amateur vim user for ages. After a couple of years of that I gradually got fed up with things in Spacemacs changing under me and the fact it felt slow, especially on the Windows laptop I had at my previous job. I didn't know much Emacs Lisp, so I didn't really get anywhere customizing it for my needs and wishes. Instead, I eventually forked a repo called 'spacelite' from GitHub which implemented the Spacemacs style bindings over a bunch of useful stuff, but with much less code and complexity. The original author (hzenginx) has archived that repo, but it lives on as my personal config:
Don't look too closely at the above... it's probably terrible style etc... which brings me to the point of this post.
Though I can do all the basics efficiently I really don't feel like I know Emacs at all well, even after 6 years of using it. I've decided that 2021 will be the year I learn Emacs a bit more and attempt to stop using it like an amateur vim user crossed with a barely competent Emacs user. I'd like to pick up some Emacs Lisp so that my config edits and troubleshooting don't merely involve copying and pasting, and trivially modifying, stuff from the web or existing code. I'm thinking I'll buy the two FSF books... the Emacs and Emacs lisp manuals and try to make it through them.
Also, I'll make a conscious effort to minimize the number of times I jump into something else when I hit something that seems inefficient, or I simply don't know how to do in Emacs. Caveat here being that I'm not going to let that affect my work productivity. Since most of my time in an editor is spend during working hours we'll see how it goes.
Wish me luck... and if anyone has better recommendations for books, I'd definitely appreciate them!
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