Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Why I'm still using Emacs

I'm using emacs since a long time by now. Everytime I ask myself why I'm using it, given emacs certainly isn't the easiest environment for programming. So, I often tried to replace emacs with other IDEs or editors, using several extensions and so on, but I still miss these killer features in a single editor:
  • Pressing a key (whatever it is, TAB in emacs) correctly/smartly indent the row according to the current language.
  • Split view, horizontal and vertical
  • No horizontal scrollbar, rather wrap the text
  • Opening/closing files without either opening a dialog or using the mouse
  • Search, search and replace (also with regexp variant) without opening any dialog
  • Switching between buffers using the longest-common-subsequence matching, without using the mouse (i.e. I don't care about file tabs, but about switching among them fast)
  • Indent entire code regions
  • Vala, C, Python, Java, Shell, Autoconf/Automake, Make and Javascript support

So, I'm not using emacs because I love it, but because it's actually the only editor with the above features.

What I'm looking for? I'm looking for a new editor/IDE, less complex, easier to customize, having the above features plus smart completion and symbol browser.
Emacs can have completion and symbol browser as well, but managing those buffers such as speedbar suck a little, things get complicated to use and to customize.

If anybody knows of such an editor, please let me know :)


TheLemonMan said...

Scribes ?

John Connors said...

Personally I'm still fairly happy with Emacs. I use ctags, etags-select and auto-complete mode for symbol completion and a limited kind of browsing. Never felt the need for a full on symbol browser. But occasionally I use and IDE and then I use emacsclient to use emacs as a text editing "server" in the background.

Unknown said...

One answer: VIM

Anonymous said...

I'm currently using geany. While it isn't as complete as emacs, it is enough useful and minimal to seamlessly fit in my daily usage.

Luca Bruno said...

@TheLemonMan can Scribes split views?

@John yes, but I don't really feel comfortable with ctags and lack of proper support for languages... do you have any link perhaps?

@Benji does vim features switching buffers with LCS?

@kaeso tried using geany, still lacks smart indentation and good buffer switching

Kevin Turner said...

IntelliJ has *most* of those. Buffer switching isn't exactly ido, but it does do substring matching. I don't know about Vala or if it has autoconf support.

Luca Bruno said...

@Kevin thanks for the hint. Apparently it doesn't support C#, I guess it doesn't support Vala either. I don't even see C. Anyway I will keep an eye on it. Still subsequence matching is way too better than substring

Luca Bruno said...

@John so I've tried auto-complete, it's pretty good! I once tried other auto completion but always gave up on them. Thanks for the hint!

Udit Mahajan said...

vote for this idea if you want IntelliJ Idea to support Vala in future..

pandith13 said...

Great post, thanks

Vasudeva said...

Thank you for your post. This is excellent information
SRIKRISHANA ASTROLOGY Best Astrologer In Vijayapura

abhiramindia said...


ABHIRAM ASTROLOGY CENTERBest Astrologer In malleswaram