On the Shoulders Of Giants - Emacs for the Curious

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Thursday, June 26, 2014 from 2:30 – 3:15pm in B301


With the need for flexible editors to handle the variety of programming languages we face regularly, the Emacs community is experiencing another renaissance. Let's get you started with Emacs and I'll show you how to become proficient quickly.


A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, programming languages were proprietary, and vendors gave away programming tools in order to entice developers to use their systems. Ironically, as programming languages became open, programmers started paying for proprietary tools such as programming editors. They needn’t have.

Perhaps some programmers shied away from Emacs because it was built on top of a dynamic, functional language; for at one time, most programmers were used to static, procedural languages. Now dynamic and functional languages (like Clojure, Haskell, Scala, and even JavaScript) are mainstream, perhaps we should revisit Emacs.

While one of the oldest programming editors, Emacs attained something of a cult status because of its power and ability to be customized. You may have downloaded and given it a spin once, but you see, off the rack, Emacs won’t really fit that well, however, it was designed to be tailored to suit your particular frame. It wears like denim.

In this session, after demonstrating the some reasons Emacs is still popular, I show you how to quickly customize it, including:

  • Eliminating Emacs Pinkie and overcoming other inefficiencies,
  • Getting traction on the Emacs Eco-system,
  • Viewing features of the famous org-mode,
  • Connecting to your favorite language and other tooling,
  • Programming the hell out of Lisp with little effort and lots of fun.

Don’t worry, I’m not out to evangelize Emacs. But if you are curious about the fuss and the cool online videos and to why many of the best programmers in the free software movement have been using Emacs for over 30 years, this will give you a quick introduction to programming efficiency.


emacs, editors

Speaking experience

I've spoke at Open Source Bridge before, as well as other conferences and user group meetings including OSCON, OpenStack on Ales and "jQuery Summit":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ1ROac50J0