Using Emacs 70 Org Protocol

# COMMENTS

I spent part of today cleaning up my Emacs workflow. Specifically, how I capture emails and links into org-mode

I already wrote about how I used org-capture (here and here). It's pretty clean and easy but there was one thing that always nagged at me. When I capture from mu4e within Emacs by hitting C-c m it's set up to automatically populate the capture template with a link to the email labelled with the email's subject. When I do it from Gmail or to store a web link as a bookmark, I have to copy and paste the link in manually.

That's where org-protocol comes in. We can use org-protocol to link between a browser and Emacs.

First you have to run Emacs as a server. You can start the Emacs server using (server-start) but I always run emacs using a shortcut key bound to emacsclient -c -a "". This runs emacsclient and connects to my running Emacs server but if the server isn't running it starts it. That meant that I only had to add ~(require 'org-protocol)~ to my Emacs config file.

I followed the instructions in the documentation by typing in these lines:

gconftool-2 -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/org-protocol/command '/usr/local/bin/emacsclient %s' --type String

gconftool-2 -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/org-protocol/enabled --type Boolean true

but that didn't seem to work.

I ended up following the instructions I found in this post creating a file named org-protocol.desktop in the folder ~/.local/share/applications containing:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=org-protocol
Exec=emacsclient %u
Type=Application
Terminal=false
Categories=System;
MimeType=x-scheme-handler/org-protocol;

and then running update-desktop-database ~/.local/share/applications/.

This seemed to do the trick.

I also modified my link capture template:

("l" "Link" entry (file+headline "~/Sync/orgfiles/links.org" "Links")
                    "* %a %^g\n %?\n %T\n %i")

Finally, to get things basically to work, I installed this extension. I configured it to use my "l" or link capture template. Once everything was installed I went to a web site and clicked the plugin. I was popped into Emacs with the capture template up and filled in. I did it again, this time marking text and hitting the button and again everything worked.

Looking at the template, the %a is replaced by the web page link, the %i with the marked text, the %T with the timestamp and the cursor is left at the %?.

I wanted to make one more change. I wanted to also use this for storing Gmail links. The problem was that I wanted my links to be sored in a file named links.org while I wanted my Gmails stored under my main org file i.org. By reading the org-protocol page I found that I could just create a bookmark.

Copied mostly from the docs, I made a bookmark with this as the link (all in one line):

  javascript:location.href='org-protocol://capture://m/'+
      encodeURIComponent(location.href)+'/'+
      encodeURIComponent(document.title)+'/'+
      encodeURIComponent(window.getSelection())

It worked perfectly.

This time I used this as the template:

("m" "Mail To Do" entry (file+headline "~/Sync/orgfiles/i.org" "To Do and Notes")
  "* TODO %a\n %?" :prepend t)

That's it. Now I can store emails in Emacs or Gmail as well as bookmarks without any cut and paste.

Here's a video with the walkthrough: