Using Emacs - 10 - org init files

I'll be traveling for the next couple of weeks so I probably won't have time for another video until mid to late July. I'll probably write a post about this series and do some regular blogging over that time but probably no new videos for a couple of weeks.

Also, a couple of notes about the series:

  1. Instead of making a separate git branch for each episode, I'm just adding on to the master branch on GitHub. If you're not familiar with Git and GitHub don't worry about this. Hardly anyone will notice a difference.
  2. If this theme doesn't show well on video, please let me know, I'll change it.

Ok, now to this installments video.

It talks about using org-mode to store our emacs init file.

The first key is that you can put code-blocks in org-mode:

#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp
(emacs-lisp code goes here)
(more emacs lisp goes here)
(and you can have even more here)
#+END_SRC

Since it's elisp you can run the individual line using the usual C-x C-e but you can run the entire block by placing your cursor anywhere in the block and typing C-c C-c.

One minor annoyance about editing code blocks is that it doesn't do syntax highlighting or auto indentation. To solve this, emacs lets you pull up an editing buffer by typing *C-c '*.

You're supposed to be able to save your changes with *C-c '* again or C-x C-s and kill the buffer without saving changes with C-x C-k but the version of org-mode that came with my version of emacs didn't support it - I had to install a newer version of org-mode from melpa.

I couldn't figure out how to do this via use-package, but if this problem happens to you, you can just type Alt-x package-install and then type org and hit enter to install it.

Once you do that, you might have to reload emacs but then everything should work.

This lets us move most of our configuration to a separate file. We're calling it myinit.org and storing it in our .emacs.d directory. You can use any name except init.org as I mentioned in the video.

The file's a little big so here's a link to it: https://github.com/zamansky/using-emacs/blob/master/myinit.org

Notice how GitHub formats it to look all nice.

Here's the raw file so you can see the gory details: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/zamansky/using-emacs/master/myinit.org

Since we're loading the file in overview mode, when we load it in emacs we see:

* interface tweaks
* try
* which key
* Org mode
* Ace windows for easy window switching
* Swiper / Ivy / Counsel
* Avy - navigate by searching for a letter on the screen and jumping to it
* Autocomplete
* Themes

We can tab open and close each section and add text to clarify things around the code blocks.

All that's left in init.el is:

(require 'package)
(setq package-enable-at-startup nil)
(add-to-list 'package-archives
	     '("melpa" . "https://melpa.org/packages/"))
(package-initialize)

;; Bootstrap `use-package'
(unless (package-installed-p 'use-package)
	(package-refresh-contents)
	(package-install 'use-package))

(org-babel-load-file (expand-file-name "~/.emacs.d/myinit.org"))

With the last line performing the magic of loading our org file and running all the code blocks.

Finally, we added a couple of small interface changes:

(fset 'yes-or-no-p 'y-or-n-p)
(global-set-key (kbd "<f5>") 'revert-buffer)

The first line lets us type y or n instead of yes or no and the second let's us reload a file into our current buffer using the f5 key.

I hope you enjoy this video and find it useful:

Relevant links:

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