1. Sunday, December 03, 2006 3:44:39 AM by Dave G.
    I used to use Epsilon, a commerical knockoff of Emacs, and I swore by it until someone turned me on to Visual SlickEdit, and I've never looked back.

    I agree with the point of your post -- sort of. As they say, correlation doesn't prove causation. I don't think that using a powerful editor will make you a better programmer, but I think that when someone makes the effort to master a powerful editor, it's a pretty good indicator that they're a good programmer. At least, that's what my anecdotal experience suggests.
  2. Sunday, December 03, 2006 1:53:41 PM by galo
    good post.
    keyboard based editors are the way to go.

    but i still prefer vim :D
  3. Monday, December 04, 2006 12:19:20 AM by Tom
    Dinarte's been using Emacs for at least 15 years. Seems to work for him.
  4. Monday, December 04, 2006 4:54:33 PM by David Karr
    I started with Unipress Emacs in 1985. I've been using some version of Emacs ever since. In the last couple of years I've probably used Eclipse more, but there are still some things that I still rely on Emacs for:

    * Case-based replace
    * Automatic comment block formatting
    * Shell
    * Nick Duffek's compile2: more flexible compile package
    * More flexible Java code formatter

    The combination of shell and compile2, along with macro recording, allows me to do some pretty nifty things that would have taken ages with a normal IDE/editor.
  5. Wednesday, December 06, 2006 4:37:43 AM by jungler
    Emacs with Das Keyboard: way to go.
  6. Tuesday, March 06, 2007 8:43:21 AM by Rik Hemsley
    VS.NET with ViEmu and ReSharper == nirvana.
  7. Tuesday, March 20, 2007 7:31:30 PM by Liam
    If you haven't explored the customizability of your editor, you're missing about 60% of its power. I have a directory of scripts that I run for any given language file I need to edit, all of which increase my productivity that much more. I can create HTML tables and layouts in a few keystrokes, instead of typing them out. I can get project-specific extensions and editor functions that my editor loads for me (why should I have to do it manually?). And I can perform major magic when 20 files need similar edits: I start a macro, define functions on the fly, and run the edits for one file, then repeat for the other 19.
  8. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:12:16 AM by Frederic Brunel
    I've been using Emacs for the last 10 years and it still amazes me. It's maybe the only software that has never deceived me and I've only scratched it's surface.
  9. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:14:47 AM by mikem
    haha, this is so, like 1970s!
  10. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:17:06 AM by tina wexley
    great timing, ibm just came out with a <a href="">tutorial for emacs newbies</a>
  11. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:20:38 AM by dandy loner
    I've been using Emacs (and clones thereof - Epsilon on Windows is wonderful) for nearly 30 years now. Emacs commands are embedded in my spinal cord reflexes, I think.

    I know two 'vi' commands: Quit, and how to quit if I've typed something. That's it. :-)

    Combined with Perl, and a decent merge program (I won't name names) you can do practically anything to a large body of source that you need to. Thank goodness for power tools.
  12. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 2:49:47 AM by thumthing
    Well, I'll be honest, I've been using Vi/m on and off since I first started working with *NIX systems (ATTsysVr3 and MS-Xenix on an Altos 286.. yup)

    I have always tried to use emacs because I love the idea of using lisp to extend it if I want to.. but MYGOD.. this thing is NOT for the faint of heart. C-ht yes, but it doesn't take long to get the F*K lost in this thing.. VI is idiot (me?) proof that way. I know I can always press esc and get the F out if I did something wrong. (I'm an admin/dba not a devloper)

    Just the other day I downloaded EMACS for osx for my spanking new MBP.. and was dissappointed almost immediately. Get into the tutorial and next thing I know the CTRL works and the FRIKKING "META" don't.. thought the tutorial claims its CTRL-v and Alt-V but I'd be damned if I can get it to work on that stupid mac book kbd. So here I am doing ESC-V to do pg-up and I was like.. F* this! I'm not putting up with this shit.. if they can't even bother to put the most used keys on the first page of the tutorial..

    I mean.. it takes me 3 for C-this and M-that and I'm in frikking lala-land..

    I can feel the power, I know I'm sitting next to a frikking F-16 but what's the point if the first button I push fires off a side winder? I mean come-on.. in the help/tutorial mode?

    ESC made me use VI.. tell me the absolute basic of the keys that will get me back to a safe place.

    Or you can just dump all over me and call me stupid and shit.. but honestly, I'm not trying to troll or start a flamewar.

    help me out here.. I want to use emacs.
  13. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 4:45:46 AM by John
    jungler wrote:

    > Emacs with Das Keyboard: way to go.

    Even better (for me) is Emacs with the Kinesis Ergo Contoured.
  14. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 4:55:14 AM by John
    ...set to dvorak, of course.

    Also: thumthing, I'm not a Mac user, but I've heard there's a couple different versions of Emacs specifically for OS X. You may want to google around and try them both before going further (you may find they work as expected right out of the box).

    If you still have problems, you could try posting to and asking how to get the keyboard Alt/Meta/Esc thing worked out. It's probably something simple, and once that's set up, you'll be good to go and get started working through the built-in tutorial.
  15. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 6:14:40 AM by klang
    I am writing this in emacs via the "It's All Text" plugin for Firefox

    .. need I say more?
  16. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 6:58:08 AM by Tim
    Ctrl-g in emacs is roughly equivalent to esc in vim, in the sense you are talking about. If you get into trouble just do ctrl-g a couple of times.
  17. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 9:13:17 AM by sherl0ck
    yes... yes.. I just swapped to emacs as well and still amaze by it.
  18. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:39:07 PM by Anonymous
    I once worked in a shop where the lead tech was using Emacs. Once I proposed to refactor parts of the source into sub-folders to improve structure. He almost violently opposed me with all kinds of arguments, none of which I found convincing. Later on I found that he had the habit of grepping "../../**/*" in Emacs (IIRC). This required all source files to be on the same level in the file system. If we had refactored the code to different levels, this command (which must have almost burnt itself into his spinal cord, so fast was he at typing it) would have become partly "broken".
    I call this "tool block" (limitation of your environment or the way you are using it that affects your design choices), and I'm pretty sure the guy wasn't aware that this was the underlying cause of him opposing my refactoring suggestion.
    I have become very cautious of anybody defending the "benefits" of their working environment - I've encountered "tool block" too many times. All IDEs have limitations, and this is only a problem if we are not aware of it.
    Not a case of pro/con Emacs, just a remark.
  19. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:48:56 PM by Steve
    Later on I found that he had the habit of grepping "../../**/*" in Emacs

    find-grep-dired (cough)
  20. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:55:22 PM by thumthing
    @Tim and others, Thanks, I will try your suggestions. :)
  21. Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:27:45 PM by RevPriest
    I think Emacs is lovely, but it makes my hand cramp up. I think there's a reason RMS has carpel tunnel you know.

    Vim's modefull editing keeps my hands from locking up, which is enough reason that I'm more practiced there, and thus it's easier to use it there.

    Course, if I'm writing Lisp I'll end up in Emacs, massaging my hands every few minutes.
  22. Friday, March 23, 2007 3:03:51 PM by John
    > I think there's a reason RMS has carpel
    > tunnel you know

    Well, give the guy a break -- he was the primary original author of GNU Emacs, GCC, and lots of other GNU software. :)
  23. Friday, March 23, 2007 3:06:56 PM by John
    (RevP, er... I just meant that he's done a lot of typing, not that you were slighting him.)
  24. Friday, March 23, 2007 7:19:41 PM by Michael Pohoreski
    The introduction reminds me of...
  25. Saturday, March 24, 2007 9:41:22 AM by Drew Thaler
    "the dark side was in the midst of a civil war".

    Heh. You make that sound as if it's a RECENT thing. ;-)
  26. Sunday, March 25, 2007 5:07:35 AM by Roy Wallis
    I started programming as an undergraduate engineering major around 1966, with punch cards. I left in the late 80's to practice law. I remember Emacs as the best tool I ever had, and thus was very pleased to read it is still used.
  27. Sunday, June 03, 2007 2:10:33 AM by Eric
    As a long time user of Vi, I actually switched to Emacs for development work. Here's my advice: do NOT use Emacs without switching Caps Lock and Left Ctrl keys and absolutely set up a .emacs file that you like as soon as possible. Steve Yegge (google it) has some good suggestion, but it doesn't take very long to find your own way. Some things are still easier for me in Vi, but I think configuration and setting up a dev environment (as opposed to file editor) is better on Emacs.
  28. Thursday, August 23, 2007 4:36:52 PM by Jose
    Eric is more than right. I didn't think it was a big deal at the beginning, but everything is much easier when you left Ctrl is in a sensible place. As for Vi, being a Vim user all my life I've found that emacs in viper mode is pure power.
  29. Friday, September 07, 2007 8:03:09 AM by Egon Schultz
    Emacs is a waste of life-energy. It slowly saps your sanity. It is the creation of some demented mofos all right. I laugh every time i hear about the wonders of dired, eshell, tex-mode, and all the other crap that doesn't really work. Take a hint from Common Lisp, the famous dead language. Why do you think it's dead? Because common lisp implimentations force you to work in emacs. Get it? Real people (not pot-smoking college boys) have better things to do with their fingers than C-x b bury slime-popups every 5 secs.
  30. Friday, January 18, 2008 4:47:50 PM by MC
    I liked the article and it gave me a sense of nostaligia. I used emacs a lot in my undergrad and masters before being lured to wall street. Never used it again till i recently started using the R programming language for statistics.
    I think the complaint about potential carpel tunnel is real as i dimly remember having problems with my pinky during my masters.
    I love the programme though.
  31. Monday, May 12, 2008 9:58:27 PM by jryan
    This may have just inspired me back to "the dark side" of editors. I am a late bloomer just began my programming addiction a year ago and I'm 35. But as I was learning C++ in college it seemed that for someone that doesn't type very well yet Visual Studio was just so easy to use. But I'm finding if I'm working on learning other things besides my one page lab programs I don't like Visual Studio. I'm trying to go the "pragmatic" way as was elegantly posted in this blog but I'll just have to get my fingers up to the speed of my brain.(if that makes sense) I will be frequenting your blog on my journey.

  32. Sunday, August 31, 2008 11:48:57 AM by alksjdf
  33. Friday, February 13, 2009 8:45:13 AM by Shane
    This reminds me of a time when I had no idea what unix was, and I just wanted to get my hands on it. I just wanted to see what people were talking about. This was pre-internet days for me, just BBSes. I finally got a shell account and book, and I was completely engrossed with trying to figure it all out. I didn't have any wizards to look up to.

    I think the author really captured the sense of exploring and trekking beyond one's comfort zone. Great stuff!
  34. Monday, March 02, 2009 1:29:25 PM by k
    thumthing: Try Aquamacs. This puts meta on the Option key as default, although if you want it to be on the Command key it's just a simple setting change (conveniently located in the "Options" menu on the top of your screen for newbies).

    Also, don't forget to make Caps Lock work as control! AutoHotkey gives you this on windows, all other OS-es seem to have simple settings to change this. Carpal Tunnel on the pinky is probably the only complaint I have about emacs.

    (Re the M-x bury-slime-popup comment: you do know that a simple line in your .emacs will make it disappear forever? Or that you can bind any key you want to any M-x command?)

    (Re: the "tool block" comment: your programmer wasn't too dependent on emacs, he just didn't know that grep actually lets you search recursively. Also, one should never be afraid to (defun mygrep () (interactive (grep ...myargs...)) if it helps productivity.)

    Reading this post made me rediscover how lost I would be without emacs. I use org-mode for practically all my writing and note-taking and project management; and using 5 different programming languages within an hour is no obstacle at all.
  35. Tuesday, March 03, 2009 5:55:30 AM by Cornellian
    > Emacs with Das Keyboard: way to go.

    > Even better (for me) is Emacs with the Kinesis Ergo Contoured.

    Try it with a Unicomp Customizer keyboard with the Linux keyboard layout. IBM PS/2 style mechanical spring keys with a control key where the caps lock key is on most keyboards. What more could you want?
  36. Thursday, May 21, 2015 1:28:23 PM by DD
    My mind likes Emacs better, but my fingers love vi.

    If you have a realy realy good keyboard, and realy realy realy nimble fingers, Emacs rules. Also, Emacs can be modified, extended, new keystrokes and functions added, etc.

    But if your keyboard is only so so, and if you fingers a stiff, it is easier to use vi. Also, knowledge of vi is transferrable to sed, and sed is an enormously useful shell tool.
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