Notes on Chapter 1: Introduction
The following notes were taken while discussing Chapter 1 of the book Mastering Emacs, 2022 edition (written by Mickey Petersen) in book discussion group meetings.
An index of notes for all chapters are available at notes.html.
The following notes are related to the content of the chapter.
To get a glimpse of the powerful describe system available in Emacs,
type the following key sequence:
C-h C-k C-p. This
shows the documentation associated with the keys
C-p that invokes the command
previous-line to move the cursor to the previous
line. The documentation mentions that this command is defined in a
simple.el. Click on the file name to jump
straight into the source code of
simple.el where this
command is defined. With Emacs, the source code of Emacs is not
hidden from the user. The describe system is discussed in Chapter 3
of the book.
The two popular language server implementations for Emacs are LSP
Mode and Eglot. Since Emacs 29, Eglot is part of Emacs core and does
not require installing a separate package. It can be run with the
M-x eglot RET.
Some examples are:
- The term point to refer to the cursor.
- The term yank to paste text. What can be especially confusing for users with prior Vim experience is that Vim uses the term yank to mean copying text but Emacs uses this term to mean pasting text.
- An OS-level or desktop-environment-level window is known as frame in Emacs. We can split an Emacs frame into multiple panes and these panes are called windows in Emacs.
There are many more such examples. The above examples illustrate the kind of surprises one should be ready for while reading Emacs documentation. Fortunately, it is often possible to understand the meaning of these terms from the context.
Active, Friendly Community
There are three good places to hang out with other Emacs users, seek help, or help others with Emacs:
All three places appear to be quite friendly to beginners to Emacs!
Vim Emulation Layer
The most popular Vim emulation layer these days is Evil Mode. It is often said that the best implementation of Vim is written in Emacs Lisp. Some people also claim that Evil Mode is a better Vim than Vim itself. In fact, the next chapter, i.e., Chapter 3, says the following:
Vim users are migrating to Emacs because, well, Emacs is often a better Vim than Vim.
The following list includes some links that were discussed during the book discussion group meetings:
- Helpful is an alternative to the built-in Emacs help that provides much more contextual information.
Demos injects Elisp demo examples in
- Planet Emacslife is a feed aggregrator for Emacs-related blogs.