DrewAdams

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EMACS

“Many of the subsequent enhancements were done simply because something occurred to me that I could easily do or someone suggested something, and it seemed like a cool idea. Our mindset was that cool ideas were fun to pursue, even if we couldn’t think of a practical use or need right away.” – DanMurphy, inventor of TECO, The Beginnings of TECO, 2009-10-31

The “spirit of building up gigantic, complicated programs to use in your own editing, and then exchanging them with other people” – RichardStallman, Lisp conf speech, 2002-10-28 (taken slightly out of context).

See EmacsHistory for info on the various Emacs incarnations mentioned here, and [1] for the Emacs family tree.

Where's the Glue?

EMACS exists because I felt free to make individually useful small improvements on a path whose end was not in sight.RMS, EMACS: The Extensible, Customizable Display Editor, http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/emacs-paper.html

That’s not a bad summary of what free/open software development is all about, IMO:

  • freedom to modify (source)
  • individually useful changes
  • small changes
  • on a path, but one without a clear destination

The fact that useful software changes can be individually useful and small, without being part of an overall predefined design, is maybe not an explicit tenet of the philosophy of free software development, but it is in fact a precondition and a consequence of such development. The idea that individually useful changes are likely to lead to something that is useful in the aggregate is important – and not obvious, in terms of modularity and group design & development.

This free/open software development model (combine individually useful changes, without necessarily adhering to a predefined design) reminds me of the Unix philosophy (vs what came before it) of producing small, modular programs that can easily be combined to produce more powerful functionality (vs monolithic, swiss-army-knife, do-all systems/functions). Here’s the question:

What makes Unix (or GNU/Linux) so modular – so propitious to the combination of small programs?
  • character streams as both input and output (what one program outputs, another can input)
  • pipes (glue programs together: outputs to inputs)

The same question, applied to functional programming:

What makes (pure, lazy, higher-order) functional programming so modular – so propitious to the combination of small programs?
  • higher-order functions (glue simple functions together to make complex functions)
  • lazy evaluation (glue whole programs together: outputs to inputs)

IOW, it’s about modularity, and modularity is all about glue: the ability to combine pieces.

For a fabulous essay on the modularity and “glue” of functional programming, see John Hughes’s classic, Why Functional Programming Matters: http://www.cs.kent.ac.uk/people/staff/dat/miranda/whyfp90.pdf or http://www.cse.chalmers.se/~rjmh/Papers/whyfp.html From the Introduction (emphasis added):

The special characteristics and advantages of functional programming are often summed up more or less as follows. Functional programs contain no assignment statements, so variables, once given a value, never change. More generally, functional programs contain no side-effects at all. A function call can have no effect other than to compute its result. This eliminates a major source of bugs, and also makes the order of execution irrelevant – since no side-effect can change the value of an expression, it can be evaluated at any time. This relieves the programmer of the burden of prescribing the flow of control. Since expressions can be evaluated at any time, one can freely replace variables by their values and vice versa – that is, programs are “referentially transparent”. This freedom helps make functional programs more tractable mathematically than their conventional counterparts.
Such a catalogue of “advantages” is all very well, but one must not be surprised if outsiders don’t take it too seriously. It says a lot about what functional programming is not (it has no assignment, no side effects, no flow of control) but not much about what it is. The functional programmer sounds rather like a medieval monk, denying himself the pleasures of life in the hope that it will make him virtuous. To those more interested in material benefits, these “advantages” are not very convincing.
Functional programmers argue that there are great material benefits – that a functional programmer is an order of magnitude more productive than his conventional counterpart, because functional programs are an order of magnitude shorter. Yet why should this be? The only faintly plausible reason one can suggest on the basis of these “advantages” is that conventional programs consist of 90% assignment statements, and in functional programs these can be omitted! This is plainly ridiculous. If omitting assignment statements brought such enormous benefits then FORTRAN programmers would have been doing it for twenty years. It is a logical impossibility to make a language more powerful by omitting features, no matter how bad they may be.
Even a functional programmer should be dissatisfied with these so-called advantages, because they give him no help in exploiting the power of functional languages. One cannot write a program which is particularly lacking in assignment statements, or particularly referentially transparent. There is no yardstick of program quality here, and therefore no ideal to aim at.
Clearly this characterisation of functional programming is inadequate. We must find something to put in its place – something which not only explains the power of functional programming, but also gives a clear indication of what the functional programmer should strive towards.

An analogy is then drawn with the “no GOTO!” arguments in favor of structured programming – and the conclusion is that it is its modularity, not its lack of GOTO, that gives structured programming its advantage. The rest of the paper explores the modularity advantages provided by higher-order functions and lazy evaluation.

I heartily recommend this 35-year old paper. I guarantee that it is an eye-opener, no matter how familiar you are with functional programming and programming-language design.

Here, BTW, is what John himself says about this paper:

This paper shows how two key features of functional languages—higher-order functions (which take other functions as arguments) and lazy evaluation (which defers computations until their results are really needed)—combine to let programmers break algorithms into small, flexible, reusable parts. It argues that functional languages support the development of reusable software much better than conventional languages, in other words.

At the time I wrote it, researchers were more likely to emphasize mathematical reasoning and the absence of side-effects—but it’s difficult to sell a programming paradigm on the things it lacks! The perspective in my paper has influenced many researchers since, and can perhaps be said to lie partly behind a focus in recent years on “domain specific embedded languages”. These are flexible libraries of functions that permit programmers to solve problems of a certain class just by combining library functions, in effect working in a special purpose programming language for that particular kind of task.

I wrote the paper in 1984 as a post-doc, but misjudged its significance completely. I thought it would be unpublishable, because it contained no difficult research results, just a manifesto and some nice programming examples. So I circulated it privately to friends, who passed it on to others, and soon I found it turning up in the most unexpected places. Finally, after five years, I was invited to submit it to the Computer Journal. —http://www.cse.chalmers.se/~rjmh/citations/my_most_influential_papers.htm

Coming back to free/open software development – By analogy, what is the “glue” that makes this kind of development work? What makes it possible to glue many small, individually useful software changes together and still get something worthwhile accomplished? How does this work, even in the absence (some might argue especially in the absence) of a predefined design? That’s a question for reflection. Some may hark back to Adam Smith for an answer; others, to Mikhail Bakunin; still others, to Karl Marx. I’d say that the question is open, but these are at least part of the “glue” answer:

  • open source code (your output is my input)
  • Internet communication (pipes, if you will)

 

I Use Emacs

… though sometimes I think Emacs uses me. In fact, Emacs and I have used each other since the mid 1980s.

First, I used Gosling Emacs (we just called it Emacs), with Mock Lisp. Mock Lisp was fun – er, a mess. No real lists at all. No real arguments to functions – just error-prone global-variable pseudo-arguments. In fact, about the only thing it had in common with Lisp was the parentheses. Fun, though.

But Gosling Emacs was Emacs, in any case: an extendable text editor that you could do what you want with. It impressed me quite a lot, after years (don’t ask!) programming with other editors of various sorts (I said, don’t ask!). I was impressed with its programmability – on the fly, no less (interpreted language). I was particularly impressed with TAGS – hit a key on a name in a program somewhere and shazzam!…takes you to the defining source code. Magic. Cool. Handy.

The other remarkable thing I noticed about Emacs was that it was self documenting. Long before objects began orienting themselves with an eye to fashion, Emacs objects spoke to you about themselves. And, though Emacs’s hyperlinked Info manuals might seem, well, ordinary now, next to the Web, at that time there was no Web, and online hyperlinked documentation didn’t even exist – except for Emacs Info. Cool it was.

Anyway… From Gosling Emacs we moved to GNU Emacs, with EmacsLisp, when it came along. We also used Zmacs, on Symbolics Lisp machines. I programmed mostly in Lisp then anyway (Franz and Common), so these Emacs versions were great to have.

Over the years, I’ve customized the hell out of Emacs. At first it was just new commands, functions, and key bindings, but when Epoch (French Wikipedia page) came out (with proportional fonts, colored faces, frames, images, menus, and such) there was suddenly a lot more you could do to make Emacs (Epoch) fit your individual needs or dreams. The combination of these new, powerful features with the somewhat limited out-of-the-box user interface positively ignited user customization, and I was no exception.

The downside of doing a lot of customization is having to redo it when a new Emacs version comes out and lots of basic stuff has changed so that things are incompatible. I’ve been there & done that way too many times. The last couple of major releases, I’ve ended up abandoning useful stuff I wrote just because I didn’t have the time to upgrade it. That’s OK; some of it deserved to be left behind.

And Emacs has improved greatly over the years. I still use Emacs 20, as well as later versions through the latest development builds. When feasible and not too much trouble, I try to make my EmacsLisp code compatible across versions.

 

My Emacs Lisp Stuff

My EmacsWiki Elisp Libraries:

This page describes my EmacsLisp libraries: DrewsElispLibraries.

NOTE: You can be pretty sure that my libraries are untampered with, because their wiki pages are locked except to EmacsWiki administrators.

Recent Developments

One place to start:

Icicles – Explore, explore, explore…

Another place to start:

OneOnOneEmacsFrames, yes! Emacs windows, no! Try it. Pages linked from OneOnOneEmacs:

Some other EmacsWiki pages to look at:

Screen Shots

Here are some screenshots of my Emacs.

 

My Contributions to EmacsWiki, Chronologically

Emacs Wiki Index and Statistics

Mailbox


Hi Drew. Thanks for welcoming me to the wiki (six years ago!) and for your Emacs libraries.

In the latest version of info+.el (#5710), I think there is a misplaced curly double quote in the curly single quote portion of ‘info-quotation-regexp’.

--- info+.el    2016-10-31
+++ info+-don.el        2016-10-31
@@ -1131,8 +1131,8 @@
(concat
 "\"\\(?:[^\"]\\|\\\\\\(?:.\\|[\n]\\)\\)*\"\\|" ; "..."
 "`\\(?:[^']\\|\\\\\\(.\\|[\n]\\)\\)*'\\|"      ; `...'
 -   "‘\\(?:[^’]\\|\\\\\\(.\\|[\n]\\)\\)*’”\\|"     ; ‘...’
 -   "\“\\(?:[^”]\\|\\\\\\(.\\|[\n]\\)\\)*"         ; “...”
 +   "‘\\(?:[^’]\\|\\\\\\(.\\|[\n]\\)\\)*’\\|"     ; ‘...’
 +   "\“\\(?:[^”]\\|\\\\\\(.\\|[\n]\\)\\)*”"         ; “...”
 )
"Regexp to match `...', ‘...’, “...”, \"...\", or just '.
 If ... contains \" or ' then that character must be backslashed.")

So I thought, “I know, I’ll submit a patch for the regular expression.” But then I had two problems, because evidently the wiki software does a regexp to prevent spam and it catches things that look like phone numbers. In your “All Library changes” link in the “my contributions” section you had a link that included “from=[epoch-time];” where the time was for Tue, 31 May 2005 00:00:00 GMT. I had to edit that before I could save this edit; I replaced it with something that seems like it still shows everything, but it labels the results page as “updates from 1970.” Maybe you can figure out a way to fix it.

Thanks – DonMarch

Good catch; thanks, Don. The typo is fixed now. And I was able to save the page, even with the date that was interpreted as a phone number.

Thx - DrewAdams


ICYMI. I’d like to buy you a Duvel. See conversation on my user page. And now I know what that is. 😊 Seen at a local brewpub: https://goo.gl/photos/puN9gMGdpcD2k1YL8 tbc

Thanks, Tim. If I ever get out Colorado way I’ll take you up on that kind offer. Regards - DrewAdams


Hey Drew, I just wanted to let you know that your emacs libraries are so much awesome. I totally dig Icicles, and can hardly wait to install DoReMi. Even the ones I don’t use (FisheyeWithThumbs isn’t much use for a guy who prefers a single frame) are still awesome in their design. Thank you! – JonathanArkell

Thank you Jonathan. Enjoy! Bug reports and suggestions welcome. Thx – DrewAdams


Hi Drew! There is ‘reporter-submit-bug-report’, a autoload function to send a bug report with dumping variables. I wonder why you do not use it. – rubikitch

Hi Rubikitch. I have used it. I don’t recall why I don’t use it more now. Why do you ask? – DrewAdams

I think ‘reporter-submit-bug-report’ is useful especially variable dump. I want to know the drawback of it because you do not use it. I’ll try to use it. Thanks. – rubikitch

It doesn’t mean anything special that I don’t use it. ;-) I agree that it can be useful to dump a select set of relevant variables (as opposed to a humongous list, for instance) into a bug-report mail skeleton. I’ve just never bothered. The only info I gather automatically is (emacs-version) – e.g. command ‘bmkp-send-bug-report’.

Typically, I’m interested in other things the user can describe about the problem, and I’ll just ask about any vars I think might be pertinent if they aren’t spontaneously reported. But that’s not a reason not to use ‘reporter’. Regards – DrewAdams


Hi there. There are many free SCM web services out there like GitHub and BitBucket… why not use a repository for easy access to your great libraries? – RyanKaskel

You can find all of Drews libraries at http://github.com/emacsmirror as well as all others hosted here on the wiki (almost). – JonasBernoulli

Excellent. Thanks – DrewAdams

That’s a red herring. Having one’s libraries included in some mirror makes it no more convenient to track the development and contribute. But I already stated my opinion on the matter (IMO clearly enough) in IciclesDiscussion and Drew deleted it now, so… whatever. – stepnem


Thanks for leaving a welcome message on my wiki page. I use your brilliant Icicles mode every day. Incredible work - that must have taken a HUGE amount of effort. I’ve put real time into reading your documentation and still haven’t explored every last corner yet.

Every advanced completion system ever made will look to Icicles for inspiration/guidance. Congratulations on making something really exceptional.

And thanks so much for putting all the hard work into releasing it!! Writing documentation and packaging a large piece of software like that takes a whole lot of effort. I really, really appreciate it and so do a lot of other people I’m sure. Thank you 😊 – jlr

Glad you find Icicles and the doc useful. Enjoy. – DrewAdams


In hl-line+, the function hl-line-flash ignores the arg argument and just looks at current-prefix-arg directly. Would it make more sense to define the function like this?

    (defun hl-line-flash (&optional arg)
      "Highlight the current line for `hl-line-flash-show-period' seconds.
    Or if ARG is non-nil, then highlight for that many seconds."
      (interactive "P")
      (hl-line-highlight-now)
      (let ((line-period hl-line-flash-show-period))
        (when arg (setq line-period (prefix-numeric-value arg)))
        (run-at-time line-period nil #'hl-line-unhighlight-now)))

(I’ve never communicated via the Wiki like this before. Sorry if I didn’t do it right.) – PhilipWeaver

Yes, of course it would. Dunno why I left it like that. Thx - DrewAdams


Hey Drew, thanks for all the great code. Just wondering, is cus-edit+.el compatible with the recent “Custom Themes” feature? TIA --DaveAbrahams

Hi Dave. Dunno. I haven’t changed it in years, so it is probably out of date in some respects. If you have the time to take a look and let me know, I’ll put it on my to-do list. Thx – DrewAdams


query-replace-w-options does not offer the thing at point as default (occur does)?? I would love to have query-replace-w-options pick up the thing at point. At the end of my .emacs:

    (add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/replace_plus/")
    (eval-after-load "replace" '(progn (require 'replace+)))

Running 23.3 under Windows--Thanks Mike F

I don’t understand. For ‘M-n’, it should be picking up the ‘symbol-name-nearest-point’ if you use library ThingAtPoint+, or the ‘word-at-point’ otherwise. What is your value of ‘search/replace-default-fn’?

Remember that the default in this sense is what you get via ‘M-n’. Query-replace has a different default behavior if you just hit ‘RET’ with no typed input. This is a feature. ‘M-n’ lets you get the thing at point, and an empty ‘RET’ lets you repeat the last query-replace.

You will need to describe just what you’re doing (recipe), so I can understand the problem. Thx – DrewAdams

I did not know about ‘M-n’ to access the thing at point. Works great! I really like the functionality where occur opens using the thing at point with one key.

To clarify, ‘M-n’ does not access the thing at point, in general. ‘M-n’ inserts the (first) default value into the minibuffer. In the case at hand, that default value comes from the thing at point.


Hi Drew,

One downside I notice with many of the enhancements such as compile- and grep+ is that they stomp on the face settings from the zenburn theme I use. I could try to load all your stuff first, but I really don’t like to load things eagerly. What’s your recommendation? – DaveAbrahams

Should be OK now. Let me know if you find other such problems. Thx – DrewAdams


Hi Drew

I would like to suggest the following improvements to icomplete+: (1) Optionally don’t show matched menu entries (as opposed to key bindings), (2) Don’t show the string “Matched;”, the meaning of the keys that follow is kind of obvious once one has used the library for longer than a few minutes, (3) Like not all suffixes are shown when that would make the minibuffer higher than one line do the same for key bindings. Thanks. – JonasBernoulli

Good ideas. Please try the latest icomplete+.el. See option ‘icompletep-include-menu-items-flag’. Let me know. Thx – DrewAdams

Thanks a lot.

1. Unfortunately key abbreviation is too aggressive. It kicks in even when there is more than enough room. Also the calculation does not seem to be based on the available space and nothing else; other conditions have an effect too. For example when the user provided text in the minibuffer is “describe-key-” then the bindings are not abbreviated but when completed to “describe-key-briefly” then it is (at 92char line-length) - even though there is more space available now (because no possible match is shown which takes more space).

2. Speaking of “describe-key”, another suggestion: when completed this far and enough space is available show the key binding even though it is not a unique match.

3. Oh and one more ;) Sort the bindings so that the shortest (non-prefix) is first. Thanks again! – JonasBernoulli

You’re welcome.

#1: I think I’ve fixed the problem you mentioned.

#2: No can do.

#3 was already the case: keys are sorted by length (but disregarding any prefix/non-prefix, which I think makes sense). HTH – DrewAdams


hi, DrewAdams. I find a problem in dired+.el long time. The two `dired-do-delete` and `dired-do-flagged-delete` function replace in `dired.el` show a different behaviour On Windows .

1. First, I setup (setq delete-by-moving-to-trash t) to using-systems-trash-when-deleting-files.

2. when I do not use the dired+.el, in the dired mode , when I press `D` on some files/directories, emacs can delete files into the Recycle Bin directory correctly.

3. Then I require dired.el, in the dired mode, when I press `D` on some files/directories, emacs will delete files/directorys directly from disk, and do not delete files into the Recycle Bin directory.

4. I comment the two function `dired-do-delete` and `dired-do-flagged-delete` in `dired+`.el. Then reboot emacs, when i delete files/directories in dired mode, emacs will delete files into windeows’s Recycle Bin directory correctly.

please fixed it. Thank you. – pocoyo

Thanks for the report. Should be fixed now. Note: this is a new feature, for Emacs 24, which has not yet been released. Since it is not released, I do not necessarily support it yet. – DrewAdams


Salut Drew, do you think it would be possible to restructure browse-kill-ring into a minor mode ? Especially with your extension, browse-kill-ring+, it would be nice to get be able to set a major mode for browsing a list : I set ‘browse-kill-ring-alternative-ring’ to ‘read-expression-history’ and it would be neat to get proper emacs-lisp-mode fontification. – pgh

Salut Pgh,

Possibly it would be possible ;-), but (a) I don’t really have the time now and (b) I don’t want to rewrite the original browse-kill-ring.el. I’ve submitted the browse-kill-ring+.el enhancements to the original author, but he has never answered or included any of them (so I could get rid of my enhancement library).

Maybe you can convince him to take this on. Or maybe you can send me a patch to implement the minor mode. Or maybe I’ll get around to taking a look at doing it someday. Feel free to provide more details about how you see it working – email is easier than dialoging via the wiki. Thanks for the suggestion, in any case.

I agree that a minor mode could make sense, and your desire to have the mode be ‘emacs-lisp-mode’ for ‘read-expression-history’ in order to get its font-locking is a good reason. For now, maybe you can make use of ‘browse-kill-ring-hook’ to at least change the font-locking etc.

FWIW, I rarely use browse-kill-ring[+].el myself. Instead, I use Icicles, where ‘C-- C-y’ lets you insert kills using completion. It is a multi-command, meaning that you can yank as many kills as you like, including yanking the same kill multiple times, during a single ‘C-- C-y’ invocation. And you can sort the candidate yanks on the fly in various ways. And filter them on the fly, with multiple filter patterns (progressive completion). Etc. – DrewAdams


Could you please fix this warning: icomplete+.el:1034:1:Warning: the function ‘icicle-completing-p’ is not known to be defined. – JonasBernoulli

Nope, sorry. The code is correct. The use of that function is guarded by a test for (a) the library it is defined in and (b) the mode where it would be active.

There are many such warnings in code that is designed to work, optionally, with some other libraries or with more than one Emacs version. In recent Emacs versions you can use ‘declare-function’ to declare that a given function is defined in a given library, but that is not possible in older Emacs versions, where ‘declare-function’ is not available. (icomplete+.el, for example, supports Emacs versions back to at least Emacs 20. – DrewAdams

I am using 24.1 which is fairly recent and nope it is not correctly garded. This would do:

- (and (boundp 'icicle-mode)  icicle-mode  (icicle-completing-p))
+ (and (boundp 'icicle-mode) (fboundp 'icicle-completing-p)  icicle-mode  (icicle-completing-p))

Testing whether icicle-mode is boundp has nothing to with whether icicle-completing-p is fboundp as far as the byte-compiler is concerned. – JonasBernoulli

Sorry, I disagree completely with the idea of writing such guards solely to inhibit byte-compiler warnings. That is not their purpose. And that is not the right way to inhibit such byte-compiler warnings. (The right way is to use ‘declare-function’, as I mentioned.)

The purpose of the guards in this code is to ensure that the program logic is correct. And as such they should also be as simple and transparent to someone reading the code as is possible without sacrificing other programming concerns that might be relevant in the given context (correctness, performance, etc.).

Reducing byte-compiler noise is not such a concern. Or rather, that concern is secondary and should not be mixed in with the program logic. That is why we have separate means of handling it: (1) vacuous ‘defvar’s for variables and (2) ‘declare-function’ for functions.

If the guard ‘icicle-mode’ is true then (fboundp 'icicle-completing-p) is true also – the latter serves no purpose for the program logic, and is only distracting, if not misleading, for a human reader of the code.

[Well, it is not necessarily the case that non-‘nil’ ‘icicle-mode’ implies that ‘icicle-completing-p’ is defined. Nothing prevents someone from defining a variable ‘icicle-mode’ without loading Icicles. There is no guarantee, with any such guards.]

Not to mention the fact that adding the ‘fboundp’ guard you propose will not prevent such a byte-compiler warning in older Emacs versions.

That the byte-compiler cannot recognize the relation between ‘icicle-mode’ being true and ‘icicle-completing-p’ being defined is a byte-compiler limitation, not a code problem. Enabling the byte compiler to detect more possibly problematic situations is in general a good thing. But if sufficient smarts do not accompany and temper/control the printing of such warnings then the result can be extra noise, which is not always helpful. – DrewAdams


Hello Drew! I noticed that LaCarte does not work properly with org-mode in Emacs 24. It seems to have to do with a new keymap format see e.g. http://debbugs.gnu.org/cgi/bugreport.cgi?bug=12744. It would be great if you update it. I do not have the lisp knowledge to do so. Thanks for your great libraries! – LennartFricke

Hi Lennart. Yes, I noticed that bug report and worked on a fix for LaCarte this morning. Please try the latest and let me know what you find. Thx – DrewAdams

Hi Drew! I did not know, if you are watching the bug reports. It is working. Thanks – LennartFricke


Why do you still use Emacs 20? Emacs releases are very stable, I think running the latest release is the best choice. – XueFuqiao

Hi Fuqiao. For the reason I gave: I try to make my code compatible across Emacs versions. Why that? Because there are users of older Emacs versions. In some cases users have no easy way to install Emacs themselves, and the version available at their organization (e.g. company) is old.

So I use Emacs 20 often when developing and testing my code. If something works in 20 then it likely works in later versions. For features that are not present in 20, that’s one way to discover that and conditionalize the code. But I have to use multiple versions to get the conditionalization right, of course.

In addition to that, Emacs 20, though more limited, is actually a good version, on MS Windows at least. Far better than Emacs 21, IMHO (I have never been able to stand using 21 – no font anti-aliasing, for one thing). Each Emacs release has brought important new features and other improvements, obviously.

FWIW, I find Emacs 24 quite unstable, whether 24.1, 24.2, 24.3 (soon to be), or development versions (24.4). It crashes a lot, at least in my context. That is not true of Emacs 23.

The great leap forward of Emacs 23 was the introduction of Unicode support. That outweighs all other changes I’ve seen in 22 or 24, by far. Of course, I am not a user of bidi editing, so I cannot really appreciate the value of that (Emacs 24).

The integration of TomTromey’s package.el in Emacs 24 is a definite plus. And the addition of OrgMode, Semantic and CEDET to Emacs are also important.

But I am not much of an Emacs user – I no longer develop code for a living, for instance, so I don’t personally take advantage of those important additions. I am not a typical or a model Emacs user. When I say that I use Emacs 20, that does not mean that I think others should not use more recent versions – far from it. – DrewAdams

Thanks for your replying. – XueFuqiao


Hi Drew

There will be an emacs conference in London. The date is not decided but it should happen in March. Would you be interested in giving a presentation?

Take care, IvanKanis

Hi Ivan,

Yes, I know about the conf and am subscribed to the conf mailing list [2]. I think it’s great to have such a conf. I’m sure it will be rewarding for the communication & contact, and enrich Emacs and its community with new ideas and projects.

Sorry, but I won’t be able to attend, myself — too far and no money. But I will watch recorded sessions and read any posted papers or slides. The more that can be recorded for non-attendees, the better.

Have a great conf — have fun, above all. Thanks to you and others for putting it together.

Regards, DrewAdams


Hi Drew, I’ve added some features to hexrgb.el and wanted to pass them onto you, so they carry forward. here’s a short list of them:

  • hexrgb-hex-set-brightness
  • hexrgb-hex-set-saturation
  • hexrgb-hex-set-hue

Which I hope are self explanatory.

Also these, color sampling functions:

  • hexrgb-hex-hue-group - insert a group of colors with hue adjustment from 90% to 10% steps into the current buffer
  • hexrgb-hex-sat-group - as above but step saturation
  • hexrgb-hex-val-group - as above but step val / brightness

Which use the defcustom - hexrgb-color-group-format ( defaults as “%s, “ )

You can find a post at http://emacsfodder.github.com/blog/hexrgb-some-convenient-functions/ with a link to the source.

All the best, JasonMilkins

Hi Jason. Thanks for your interest. I really appreciate your efforts and offer.

Actually, I have had code that does what your `hexrgb-hex-set-(hue|saturation|brightness)’ functions do for quite a while, but I have kept it in other libraries (Icicles, OneOnOneEmacs, DoReMi). I’ve been thinking for some time about moving that code to hexrgb.el, and I’ve finally done that now – see `hexrgb-increment-(hue|saturation|value)’.

Wrt your commands that return a list with a range of ten hex color codes, I think that that kind of thing is better put in a separate library, perhaps something more directly aimed at CSS coders. I try to keep hexrgb.el to just basic color manipulation functions and a few core commands. Please consider posting those commands separately.

Regards – DrewAdams

Hi Drew, thanks for the reply

I’ll have a look at the latest hexrgb.el and see what I can do, ideally I’d like to create `hexrgb+.el’ (or similar.) to add a lot of format related functions, which is what I’d intended to do in the first place (a year ago I think.) - At that time nb-digits needed to be hacked in, so I ended up making this copy of hexrgb.el.

I’ll post again when I get something useful going.

Regards, JasonMilkins

Hi Jason. Sounds good. And don’t hesitate if you do prefer to contribute something to hexrgb.el. I’ll let you know what I think is best, like I did this time. IOW, I’m still open to suggestions etc. Thx – DrewAdams

Good stuff, I’ll have a go at it nearer next weekend and keep you updated, I can see a few convenience/format related use cases, that don’t require much in the way of difficult code, just good naming and grouping,

I think you were right first time, hexrgb shouldn’t have too much of this interactive insert stuff going on, and where possible these things should be grouped into useful sets of features/functions and made to require ‘hexrgb.

The only function candidates I think should be included (which I’ll need to port from SASS or LESS or whatever.) are things like mixing, lighten by percent, etc.

Anyway, thanks for the interest,

All the best, Jason


I like `col-highlight`. Really nice. A tweak that the highlight stops at the paragraph boundaries would be nice. A paragraph boundary being an empty line, for e.g. (or a configurable regexp?).

(you can contact me via towi attttt geocities, followed by dot com)

cheers, towi.

Done. See option ‘col-highlight-show-only’. Thanks for the suggestion – DrewAdams


Please, could you have a look at http://stackoverflow.com/questions/20800710/turning-off-indent-tabs-mode-in-emacs-causes-malfunction-in-move-to-column-when/20820335#20820335 ? Do you know the right interpretation of the features of `move-to-column` or do you know someone who knows and is willing to answer/check my answer? Thanks in advance, TobiasZawada

Hi Tobias. I’ve replied to you at that StackOverflow question. Seems like an Emacs bug, to me. – DrewAdams


Libraries referenced here:

Lisp:buff-menu+.el, Lisp:compile-.el, Lisp:compile+.el, Lisp:cus-edit+.el, Lisp:dired+.el, Lisp:emacs-init.el, Lisp:grep+.el, Lisp:highlight.el, Lisp:icomplete+.el, Lisp:imenu+.el, Lisp:info+.el, Lisp:menu-bar+.el, Lisp:mkhtml.el, Lisp:replace+.el, Lisp:ring+.el


Dear Drew,

When i start emacs with -Q, load replace plus, and try to use ‘query-replace’ i’ve got the following error

    call-interactively: Wrong number of arguments: (lambda (from-string to-string &optional delimited start end) #("Advice doc string" 0 17 (ad-advice-info query-replace)) (interactive (let* ((emacs24\.4+ (or (> emacs-major-version 24) (and (= emacs-major-version 24) (or (> emacs-minor-version 3) (replacep-string-match-p "24.3.50" emacs-version))))) (common (query-replace-read-args (concat "Query replace" (and current-prefix-arg (if (and emacs24\.4+ ...) " backward" " word")) (and transient-mark-mode mark-active (> (region-end) (region-beginning)) (not search/replace-region-as-default-flag) " in region")) nil)) (from (nth 0 common)) (to (nth 1 common)) (delimited (nth 2 common)) (start (and transient-mark-mode mark-active (> (region-end) (region-beginning)) (region-beginning))) (end (and transient-mark-mode mark-active (> (region-end) (region-beginning)) (region-end)))) (if emacs24\.4+ (list from to delimited start end) (list from to delimited start end (nth 3 common))))) (let (ad-return-value) (interactive (let* ((emacs24\.4+ (or (> emacs-major-version 24) (and (= emacs-major-version 24) (or (> emacs-minor-version 3) (replacep-string-match-p "24.3.50" emacs-version))))) (common (query-replace-read-args (concat "Query replace" (and current-prefix-arg (if ... " backward" " word")) (and transient-mark-mode mark-active (> ... ...) (not search/replace-region-as-default-flag) " in region")) nil)) (from (nth 0 common)) (to (nth 1 common)) (delimited (nth 2 common)) (start (and transient-mark-mode mark-active (> (region-end) (region-beginning)) (region-beginning))) (end (and transient-mark-mode mark-active (> (region-end) (region-beginning)) (region-end)))) (if emacs24\.4+ (list from to delimited start end) (list from to delimited start end (nth 3 common))))) (setq ad-return-value (with-no-warnings (ad-Orig-query-replace from-string to-string delimited start end))) ad-return-value)), 6

I use GNU Emacs 24.3.1 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu, GTK+ Version 3.4.2) of 2013-04-13 on trouble, modified by Debian

Regards, PasJa

Oops. I had switched the return values for ‘interactive’ in the ‘defadvice’. Should be OK now. Please try the latest version. Thx – DrewAdams

Thanks, it works fine

Regards, PasJa


Just upgraded from hl-line to crosshairs-mode. I also have whitespace-mode enabled to subtly show spaces and tabs. Crosshairs seems to be highlighting the visual spaces spuriously in white. Here’s a screenshot: https://imgur.com/ngTFccx

Is there something I can do to keep the visual spaces a subtle gray? – Yo

Sorry, I don’t yet understand. I don’t notice any spurious white “visual spaces” in your screenshot – what I think I see is black crosshairs against a dark gray background.

Please point out somehow just what the bugged effect is. And please try to give me a step-by-step recipe to repro the problem, preferably starting from ‘emacs -Q’. Let me know all of your crosshairs etc. settings – whatever is pertinent to the problem. Thx – DrewAdams

I have the following settings for whitespace-mode:

  (require 'whitespace)
  (setq whitespace-style
	'(face
	  tabs
	  spaces
	  trailing
	  space-before-tab::tab
	  space-before-tab::space
	  space-after-tab::tab
	  space-after-tab::space
	  tab-mark
	  space-mark))
  (add-hook 'prog-mode-hook
	    (lambda ()
	      (whitespace-mode 1)))

If you look at the screenshot you will see white dots – this is the effect of turning crosshairs-mode on. If you look more closely, you will see gray dots on a gray background – this is the effect without crosshairs-mode on and what it should look like.

For some reason crosshairs-mode is changing the face of the visible white spaces (dots) to white.

Here’s a second screenshot, this time of the scratch buffer with the cursor at the end of a line: https://imgur.com/tqPByvs

Here you can see that the visible tabs and spaces at the beginning of the lines are the correct gray, but there are white dots from the end of line up to the vertical bar of the crosshair.

OK, I see what you mean. The problem comes apparently from library vline.el, which is used by crosshairs.el. You should try contacting the maintainer of that library.

A pseudo-fix, just to show what the problem is, is to add this line of code to the definition of function ‘vline-show’ (in vline.el):

      (setq str (propertize str 'face 'whitespace-space))

Add that just after these lines:

     ((eolp)
      (move-overlay ovr (point) (point))

So you get this:

     ((eolp)
      (move-overlay ovr (point) (point))
      (setq str (propertize str 'face 'whitespace-space))

That will fix the white-dot problem. However, obviously vline.el should not have to know about ‘whitespace-mode’, and this is not a fix for the problem.

I think this is a bug in ‘whitespace-mode’, not vline.el. Please consider reporting it to Emacs Dev: ‘M-x report-emacs-bug’. Whitespace mode should play well with other libraries, such as vline.el, which use overlays with whitespace.

If that is not possible, then a possibly (ugly) fix/workaround is to modify the ‘vline-show’ code to do something like what I showed, but propertize string ‘str’ with face ‘whitespace-space’ only when ‘whitespace-mode’ is on etc. In any case, please contact the vline.el maintainer about the problem – he might have a good suggestion.

HTH – DrewAdams

Thanks for taking the time to look into this. Very helpful. – Questioner

You are welcome. But please do report the problem, however minor, to the vline.el maintainer and to Emacs Dev. This seems like an Emacs bug (in whitespace.el) to me. – DrewAdams


Getting the error

let*: Symbol's value as variable is void: filter-buffer-substring-function

on package narrow-indirect.el. The following diff solves the issue: if subr+.el is not found we don’t need those bindings at all. Additionally, I took the liberty of factoring this in a new function ‘ni-clean-buffer-substring’, and renamed the public functions to include the word ‘indirect’ (previously only ‘ni-narrow-to-page-indirect-other-window’ included it). The diff is below: … Thank you for your generosity, Adrián.

Thanks for the suggestion, Adrián. I’ve implemented something similar and fixed a couple of bugs (the whitespace-collapsing code was completely wrong). Should be OK now. Thx – DrewAdams



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