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Hacker News client for Emacs
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Simple Hacker News Emacs Client


It's simple because it doesn't actually interact with Hacker News. It uses a HTTP API to get the data.


Version 0.5.0 of the hackernews package is able to fetch stories from six different Hacker News feeds, namely top, new, best, ask, show and job stories. The default feed is top stories, which corresponds to the Hacker News homepage.

The score, title, and comments count of each story is presented on a line of its own (see screenshot below), though this format is customizable. Both the title and comments count strings are hyperlinked to the Hacker News page for the item (the one with the comments), unless the story links to an external page, in which case the title is hyperlinked to that instead.

Clicking or typing RET on a link opens it with the command browse-url, which selects a browser based on the user option browse-url-browser-function. This defaults to the system's default browser.

Typing t on a link first tries to open it in eww, if available, and otherwise passes it to the command browse-url-text-emacs, which consults the user option browse-url-text-browser. This defaults to running lynx within Emacs. Keep in mind that some websites do not render well in text mode.

A future hackernews version may support upvoting and interacting with comments.


Key Description
RET Open link in default (external) browser
t Open link in text-based browser within Emacs
r Mark link as visited
R Mark link as unvisited
n Move to next title link
p Move to previous title link
TAB Move to next comments count link
S-TAB Move to previous comments count link
m Load more stories
g Reload stories
f Prompt user for a feed to switch to
q Quit

All feed re/loading commands accept an optional numeric prefix argument denoting how many stories to act on. For example, M-50g refreshes the feed of the current hackernews buffer and fetches its top 50 stories. With no prefix argument, the value of the user option hackernews-items-per-page is used instead.




Using the built-in package manager

Those who like the built-in package manager package.el need only point it to a MELPA repository, which can be achieved by adding the following code to your user-init-file:

(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives '("melpa" . ""))

Note that this will follow the bleeding edge of hackernews development. Though hackernews contributors make every effort to keep the latest snapshot usable and bug-free, to err is human. If this thought scares you, a more stable experience can be achieved by replacing:

'("melpa" . "")

in the example above with:

'("melpa-stable" . "")

or equivalent. See for more on this.

Once package.el is configured, you can run M-xpackage-installREThackernewsRET.

Manual download

Place the hackernews.el file into a directory on your load-path and add the following code to your user-init-file:

(autoload 'hackernews "hackernews" nil t)

Alternatively, if you always want the package loaded at startup (this slows down startup):

(require 'hackernews)


Just run M-xhackernewsRET. This reads the feed specified by the user option hackernews-default-feed, which defaults to top stories, i.e. the Hacker News homepage. A direct command for each supported feed is also supported, e.g. M-xhackernews-top-storiesRET or M-xhackernews-ask-storiesRET. These direct commands are not autoloaded, however, so to use them before hackernews has been loaded, you should autoload them yourself, e.g. by adding the following to your user-init-file:

(autoload 'hackernews-ask-stories "hackernews" nil t)


You can list and modify all custom faces and variables by typing M-xcustomize-groupREThackernewsRET.

All hackernews buffers are displayed using the pop-to-buffer function for increased compatibility and customizability in how windows and frames are re/used. This function displays buffers in a new window by default. The simplest way to instead reuse the current window for hackernews buffers is to customize one of the user options same-window-buffer-names, same-window-regexp or in Emacs 24 and subsequent versions, display-buffer-alist via M-xcustomize-groupRETwindowsRET.

If you prefer to roll out your own Elisp, you could add to your user-init-file something as simple as:

(add-to-list 'same-window-regexps "\\`\\*hackernews .*\\*\\'")


In general, errors and misbehavior pertaining to network retrieval and JSON parsing are probably due to bugs in older Emacsen. The minimum recommended Emacs version for hackernews is 25. Emacs 24 should work, but suffers from network security vulnerabilities that were fixed in version 25. Emacs 23 is no longer officially supported as of 2018-06-08.

In any case, please report any problems on the project's issue tracker, so that the possibility for mitigation can be investigated.


Copyright (C) 2012-2019 The Hackernews.el Authors

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see

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