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2000-12-05 15:44:57+00 by ebradway 11 comments

Granted this post is akin to saying Buddhism is better than Hinduism... I've finally begun the learning curve in EMACS. For the past couple years I've been using joe in Linux but I need an editor with a few more features. Like Dan, I was a huge BRIEF fan. In fact the biggest difficulty I've had in learning regex in Unix is that I learned BRIEF's regex first - not too different from the pain of breaking my C-k habit I developed from joe (C-k precedes commands in joe whereas it cuts the rest of the line to the buffer in EMACS). I have had the pleasure of using CRiSP for a while on HPUX but I've been running into the same problems that led Dan to EMACS: setting up CRiSP on every machine you encounter is a pain in the butt. I don't plan to be an expert at EMACS anytime soon. In fact, it appears that people have written Doctoral theses on EMACS. But I'm already close to being functional... C-x C-c

[ related topics: Free Software ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:41+00 by: Dan Lyke

I created an Emacs cheat sheet which I've taped in various stages to the sides of the monitors I regularly use to get me past the tough parts. I've been using XEmacs because the integration with the Insidious Big Brother Database, VM, GNUS and w3-mode seems to work a bit better there, and it's got some smarter key mappings. I loved CRiSP, but the licensing hassles weren't worth the little bit of cleaner functionality it gives over XEmacs[Wiki], and now that I've started using all these other packages I'm converted.

#Comment made: 2000-12-05 19:17:25+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

I really think CRiSP is the best code editor ever created but the licensing issues are a bitch. I think CRiSP is one of the reasons I wish I hadn't let McKee Foods - we had standardized on it as THE text editor and had it installed on most of the systems. Give the choice between an Aeron chair or CRiSP installed everywhere, I'd take CRiSP. My EMACS cheat sheet is much simpler:

C-x C-fRead file
C-x C-sSave file
C-x sSave all files
C-x C-cExit
C-spcSet mark
C-wCut from mark to cursor
M-wCopy from mark to cursor
C-x oSwitch windows
C-x bSwitch buffers
C-x kKill buffer
C-x 0Delete this window
C-x 1Zoom window
C-x 2Split vertical

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:41+00 by: Pete Jansson

I know several people who, after giving up Emacs, had significant improvement in their carpal tunnel. Personally, I used it and liked it, but went to an environment where I couldn't run it, so I went back to vi and never really got around to returning to Emacs. I don't have major carpal tunnel problems (except after a long bike ride, but that's another story).

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:42+00 by: baylink

Um, any editor that uses both the Intertrupt key and the Backspace key as *commands* Deserves To Lose? :-) vi Forever!

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:43+00 by: ebradway

Yes, I thought that Emacs' use of C-c and C-h were a little odd. But that's nothing compared to the moodiness --- errr, modiness --- of vi.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:44+00 by: baylink

:set showmode assuming you need it. I personally have little trouble with modeliness; maybe it's just a learned trait. I'd prefer to have to learn modeliness than to have to learn those Control-Alt-Shift-Meta-Cokebottle commands that are the alternative in emacs. :-) You can use vi with just 5 commands: i x <esc> :w :q plus or minus a bang or two. The other stuff's damned handy, but unnecessary.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:45+00 by: foaf

I don't like any editor that needs a cheat sheet and a tutorial to do simple stuff like marking text or saving files. In the short span of my coding career I've spent most of my time in an IDE (visual age for java being my favourite), but my editor o' choice is jEdit (http://jedit.sourceforce.net).

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:45+00 by: ebradway

Unfortunately we don't all have the option of running an IDE (nor do we want to to edit a config file). The cheat sheet is to help commit commands to muscle-memory and you would need one with any NEW editor, be it vi, emacs, jedit, or even DOS edit. I still think CRiSP is the ultimate editor - everything is mapped to meta/alt keystrokes (or uses the extended keys on an IBM 101) but the licensing is quite a pain. I would probably put more effort into vi if it supported multiple windows and a few other things. My cheat sheet for emacs, above, gives the commands necessary to do decent multiple window editting.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:45+00 by: Dan Lyke

IDE... shudder. Spent way too much time in Visual C++ to want an IDE for anything. Give me my separate tools that work well together and I'm happy, but save me from tools that try to be "easy to use", they usually are only for the simplest problems. On Jay's vi intro up there, yes, you can get around vi with that just as you can get around Emacs with C-x C-s C-x C-c and the cursor keys, and I'm actually facile enough in vi from having to resurrect limping Un*x boxes to do cut-and-paste and more, but if I'm typing more than two thirds of the text that's ending up in the file then my editor isn't supporting me nearly enough. At the very least I need enough of the features that pretty soon I'm exploiting most of Vim and may as well be using something that exploits all the keys on my interface. I'm the kind of guy who'll probably some day end up buying an old organ so I can repurpose the foot pedals as modifier keys.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:45+00 by: crasch

Kinesis sells a foot pedal that probably does what you want already. There's also a foot controlled mouse. . split vertical keyboards look promising as well. I haven't used any of these devices though. Does anyone have first hand experience?

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:45+00 by: Mark Hershberger

It is interesting to note that the author of the editor that originally inspired Bill Joy to write vi thought the modality of vi was terrible. Evidently they were doing some sort of Human-Computer-Interface studies and discovered that modality is no good for picking something up quickly. Or something like that. (My reference here is A Quarter Century of Unix.) Sure, really grokking emacs takes a lifetime, but it is worth it. As another post here said, the integration of BBDB, Gnus, and W3 is not something to scoff at. Not to mention playing MP3s and keeping track of todo lists and tracking the amount of time worked on projects. And I haven't even gotten to the the ability to edit files on other machines that are only accessible via ssh. If all you want is to edit text files on your local box, then a tools like nedit or vi are fine. If you want an outstanding environment in which to do practicaly all your work and even some of your play (e.g. M-x tetris RET), there is nothing better than emacs. I've been using emacs for years and the only time I experience any RSI is when I reach for the mouse -- so that I can use some non-emacs app. Mark.