yet another Emacs distribution..?

a short retrospective

I’ve used many code editors and integrated development environments in the past, from the likes of Python’s IDLE, PyCharm, Visual Studio Code, Neovim, and last but not least, Emacs. It’s not for me to judge which of these tools are best; after all, they serve different purposes for different workloads. Some are optimized for learning, providing commercial-grade support, or just text editing. That being said, one tool in particular stands out in this bunch as it is its own toolbox. Of course, I’m talking about Emacs.

I started using Vim, and eventually Neovim, around 2019/2020. By then, I’ve only used PyCharm and Visual Studio Code for my projects, which wasn’t really forgiving towards my device’s computational power. I can’t quite place what made me use Vim in the first place, but if I had to guess, it would’ve been a couple of factors. The most trivial of the pair is that it’s just lightweight; running Vim and Neovim didn’t involve spinning up a JVM or Chromium instance just to edit my silly little projects.

The other reason has a little more depth to it; I had started using Vim and Neovim because it was different, in a sense that it makes me unique from my peers. With that being said, I think that one’s perception of these tools is proportional to their exposure and overall technical knowledge. A non-programmer may look at an Emacs frame and think not much of it, while programmers (and writers, to an extent) may respond with enthusiasm or (friendly, hopefully >_<) rivalry.

Fast forward by a few months, I’d started looking into Emacs through Doom Emacs! By then, I had found out that Doom was essentially everything that my scuffed Neovim configuration wanted to be. I’d used Doom for a project or two, then coming back to Neovim for a short period, before ultimately getting back to configuring Emacs after discovering David Wilson’s Emacs from Scratch series on YouTube. A few failed attempts at setting up my configuration later, here I am now with ハッピ (Happy) Emacs.

brand new world

ハッピ Emacs is the most recent iteration of my Emacs configuration. It inherits most of the defaults that I liked with my previous configurations, such as my minibuffer setup for org-roam, or just my org-mode configuration in general. More notably, ハッピ Emacs is also a way for me to discover new packages, such as vertico in place of selectrum, or corfu in place of company.

In terms of new developments, I’ve also started incorporating hydra for key bindings! It allows me to utilize a pattern that I call micro-modal editing. Micro-modal editing is similar to modal editing like Vim’s in that the editor’s functionality is expressed as a finite state machine, and that certain key strokes act as transitions between its states. However, micro-modal editing stil involves pressing Emacs-ish prefixes such as C-c t, C-c w, or C-c p in order to enter said states. One advantage that this approach allows is “sticky” key-bindings, where said prefix keys need not be pressed repeatedly to repeat an action.

As of writing this subsection for this blog post, I’m still in the process of configuring ハッピ Emacs. Of course, it’ll be an iterative process and I doubt I’ll ever stuff tweaking things the way that I like them. However, one eventuality that I’ve found is that once I get comfortable to a specific configuration, I often find myself not touching the configuration files at all.

etymology break

I’ve named ハッピ Emacs after Happy Around! (ハッピーアラウンド!).

Happy Around! is an all-girl DJ group and the central unit for the Dig Delight Direct Drive DJ franchise. […]. Their music genre consists of J-Pop, Dubstep and Happy Hardcore.

I’m not gifted with the ability to come up with interesting names so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.