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This is, produced by makeinfo version 4.8 from el-get.texi.
* El-Get: (el-get). Using el-get to manage your Emacs Extensions.
Copyright (C) 2010, 2011, 2012 Dimitri Fontaine.
Version 2, December 2004
Copyright (C) 2004 Sam Hocevar <>
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim or modified
copies of this license document, and changing it is allowed as long
as the name is changed.

File:, Node: Top, Next: Introduction, Up: (dir)
El-Get User Manual
El-Get is an Emacs Extension manager that allows you to install, update
and remove external Emacs Lisp extensions. More importantly, El-Get
will care about initializing installed extensions for you at Emacs
* Menu:
* Introduction::
* Acknowledgments::
* Glossary::
* Installing::
* Usage::
* Setup::
* User Init::
* Recipes::
* Authoring Recipes::

File:, Node: Introduction, Next: Acknowledgments, Prev: Top, Up: Top
1 Introduction
El-Get allows you to install and manage Emacs Lisp code for Emacs. It
supports lots of differents types of sources and is able to install
them, update them and remove them, and more importantly it will init
them for you.
That means it will `require' the `features' you need, `load' the
necessary files, set the `Info' paths so that `C-h i' shows the new
documentation you now depend on, and finally call your own `post-init'
function for you to setup the extension. Or call it a package.
El-Get Version String (`M-x el-get-version') are now inspired by how
Emacs itself numbers its versions. First is the major version number,
then a dot, then the minor version number. The minor version number is
0 when still developping the next major version. So 3.0 is a developer
release while 3.1 is a stable release.
Please note that this versioning policy has been picked while backing
1.2~dev, so 1.0 was a "stable" release in fact. Ah, history.

File:, Node: Acknowledgments, Next: Glossary, Prev: Introduction, Up: Top
2 Acknowledgments
Dimitri Fontaine started the whole project and still manages the
releases, and sometimes even contribute code and documentation.
Julien Danjou has been a contributor since very early days, about the
first beta tester of the idea, before we really knew how much to
Ryan C. Thompson joined and commented some issues, began contributing
and quickly became top-level and most active contributor to the
project, getting a commit bit and some management duties. He manages
tests and issues on github as much as he can spares time to El-Get.
Dave Abrahams contributed lots of code and efforts to make things
right™. He's still using El-Get, but decided to retire from the
Lots of people (more than we can list here) did contribute to El-Get
either recipes, bug fixes or ideas to implement, often with code. That
builds up an awesome community, thanks guys!
dim ~/dev/emacs/el-get git --no-pager shortlog -n -s | wc -l
dim ~/dev/emacs/el-get git --no-pager shortlog -n -s | head -10
734 Dimitri Fontaine
336 Ryan C. Thompson
114 Julien Danjou
110 Dave Abrahams
73 Ryan Thompson
72 Sébastien Gross
42 Takafumi Arakaki
27 Alex Ott
25 Yakkala Yagnesh Raghava
21 Rüdiger Sonderfeld

File:, Node: Glossary, Next: Installing, Prev: Acknowledgments, Up: Top
3 Glossary
Delay loading a package definition until its first use.
Action that happens at *Note Glossary - Install::, and *Note
Glossary - Update::. Packages might skip any `build' step
entirely. When given, the build step allows to run system level
tools (think `make'), often to produce to derivative files.
Action to compile Emacs Lisp files so that loading them is faster.
El-Get is able to automatically manage that step at install and
update time so that init time is faster, see *Note Glossary -
Any El-Get package can depend on some others. At install time,
El-Get will make sure all dependant packages are installed first.
At init time, same thing will happen. Dependency management is
solved with a topological sort so that if you install a package
`a' that depends on a package `b' that depends on a package `c',
El-Get will install `c' then `b' then `a'.
When you start Emacs you want your packages to get setup and ready
to serve whatever usage you have of this advanced Operating
System. El-Get calls this setup step the `init' and will care
about initializing your packages automatically given a *Note
Glossary - Recipe::.
El-Get install a package by fetching its sources as described in
the package recipe, then running the build steps if the recipe
contains such.
An El-Get method is a backend code providing facilities to fetch,
install, update and remove external code. El-Get currently
implements methods that targets `apt-get', `brew', `builtin',
`bzr', `cvs', `darcs', `elpa', `emacsmirror', `emacswiki', `fink',
`fossil', `git' and `git-svn', `github' `github-tar' and
`github-zip', `hg', `http' `http-tar' and `http-zip', `pacman' and
El-Get notifies its user when a package is done installing,
updating or removing. It knows how to use several system level
notification facilities, such as `DBUS' or `growl'.
A package is what El-Get manages for you. It's a set of Emacs Lisp
files (possible a set of a single file, possibly with some Info
documentation and build scripts, etc) that El-Get knows how to
fetch and install, update and remove, and init at Emacs Startup.
An El-Get recipe describes a package in terms that allow El-Get to
provide its features against that package. It's easy enough to
write recipes, and fun to share them!
El-Get removes a package by simple removing the directory where the
package is installed. If you want the features of the package to
get unloaded, most often the easier way to do that is to restart
One of `available', `installed', `required' or `removed'. When
El-Get is asked to install a package, the status is set to
`required' before to fetch and build it, so that in case of error
the system knows to try installing again.
El-Get updates a package in different ways, depending on the
package type and the associated method. In some cases it's not
possible to update a package, like when it switched from `svn' to
`git' for example.

File:, Node: Installing, Next: Usage, Prev: Glossary, Up: Top
4 Installing
El-Get comes with a `*scratch*'-installer. Ideally you would install
El-Get with El-Get itself, but I couldn't figure out how to do that, so
instead you have to copy and paste the following code into your
`*scratch*' buffer and evaluate it:
;; So the idea is that you copy/paste this code into your *scratch* buffer,
;; hit C-j, and you have a working el-get.
(lambda (s)
(goto-char (point-max))
To evaluate that code, you place the point at the end of the text
block (just after the last closing paren) and you type `C-j'.
* Menu:
* Install the developper version::
* Skip Emacswiki recipes when installing::

File:, Node: Install the developper version, Next: Skip Emacswiki recipes when installing, Up: Installing
4.1 Developper version
The lazy installer uses the default `el-get-install.el' file which
targets the `stable' branch. To install El-Get directly on the
`master' branch, summon the `el-get-master-branch' variable into
;; So the idea is that you copy/paste this code into your *scratch* buffer,
;; hit C-j, and you have a working developper edition of el-get.
(lambda (s)
(let (el-get-master-branch)
(goto-char (point-max))

File:, Node: Skip Emacswiki recipes when installing, Prev: Install the developper version, Up: Installing
4.2 Skip Emacswiki recipes when installing
The installer will fetch from emacswiki all the recipe available there
and install a local copy of those in your system automatically. Should
you want to disable that feature, the following snippet is showing how
;; So the idea is that you copy/paste this code into your *scratch* buffer,
;; hit C-j, and you have a working el-get (without emacswiki automatic
;; recipes).
(lambda (s)
(let (el-get-install-skip-emacswiki-recipes)
(goto-char (point-max))

File:, Node: Usage, Next: Setup, Prev: Installing, Up: Top
5 Usage
Now that El-Get is installed, simply use `M-x el-get-install' and pick
whatever package you need.
Here's a list of commands provided by El-Get:
List all available packages with their names, *Note Glossary -
Status::, and description. Name and description are taken from the
recipe file of the package.
You can find which recipe file is used for a given package using
`el-get-find-recipe-file' or `el-get-describe'.
Offers a full text description of a package with buttons to
install, remove and update, and with the recipe content.
Find the recipe file for given recipe, prompted.
Install given package, as prompted.
Initialize given package, as prompted. If some user code is setup
to be run at initialisation, it will get run by this command. See
*Note User Init::.
Update a given package, as prompted. In some cases a straight
update is not possible (recipe switched from CVS to git is a common
reason). El-Get will try and detect such cases and do
`el-get-remove' then `el-get-install' if necessary.
Please realise that updating packages might break your current
package setup and that you will have to revisit your setup
Remove given package, as prompted.
Update El-Get itself, and force that update to be synchronous. That
allows to make sure you're not updating El-Get code while trying to
update or install some other package at the same time.
Will update all packages that have the `installed' status in your
status file. Before the update you will be prompted for
confirmation that you wish to proceed.
Beware that using this function can lead to hours of settings
review: more often than not updating a package requires some
adjustments to your setup. Updating all of them at once will
require reviewing almost all your setup.
Reload the given package files. Happens automatically at update
time too.

File:, Node: Setup, Next: User Init, Prev: Usage, Up: Top
6 Setup
El-Get setup can be very simple or arbitrarily complex. This chapter
explains how to do the very basic setup, which allow for using `M-x
el-get-install' and friends, then how to get a more involved setup.
* Menu:
* Basic Setup::
* The el-get function::
* Distributed Setup::
* Setup Customization::

File:, Node: Basic Setup, Next: The el-get function, Up: Setup
6.1 Basic Setup
You can then arrange to have El-Get part of your setup, so that at next
emacs startup the installed packages are initialized.
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/el-get/el-get")
(unless (require 'el-get nil t)
(goto-char (point-max))
(el-get 'sync)
The `el-get' command will check that each and every package is
installed on your system (in `el-get-dir' and if that's not the case,
it will actually install it. Then, it will init the packages: that
means caring about the `load-path', the `Info-directory-list' (and dir
texinfo menu building) the loading of the emacs-lisp files, and finally
it will require the features or eval the package `autoloads'.
This usage is pretty simple to setup and use, but fails to cater with
more complex setups involving multiple deployments (home and work
laptop would be a classic example). El-Get fully supports that
distributed setup, though, and this chapter explain how.

File:, Node: The el-get function, Next: Distributed Setup, Prev: Basic Setup, Up: Setup
6.2 The el-get function
Ensure that packages have been downloaded once and init them as needed.
This will not update the sources by using `apt-get install' or `git
pull', but it will ensure that:
* the packages have been installed
* load-path is set so their elisp files can be found
* Info-directory-list is set so their info files can be found
* Autoloads have been prepared and evaluated for each package
* Any post-installation setup (e.g. `(require 'feature)') happens
When SYNC is `nil' (the default), all installations run
concurrently, in the background.
When SYNC is `sync', each package will be installed synchronously,
and any error will stop it all.
Please note that the `el-get-init' part of `el-get' is always done
synchronously. There's `byte-compile' support though, and the packages
you use are welcome to use `autoload' too. You can also force your
setup to be loaded lazily with the `el-get-is-lazy' variable.
`PACKAGES' is expected to be a list of packages you want to install
or init. When `PACKAGES' is omited (the default), the list of already
installed packages is considered.

File:, Node: Distributed Setup, Next: Setup Customization, Prev: The el-get function, Up: Setup
6.3 Distributed Setup
When you are sharing your emacs setup between several machines (work
and home destops, laptop, etc); it's usual to manage your `.emacs.d'
setup in a distributed repository (such as `git'). El-Get then provides
an easy canonical list of packages you depend on to run emacs, and this
documentation is usable as-is.
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/el-get/el-get")
(require 'el-get)
;; local sources
(setq el-get-sources
'((:name magit
:after (global-set-key (kbd "C-x C-z") 'magit-status))
(:name asciidoc
:type elpa
:after (progn
(autoload 'doc-mode "doc-mode" nil t)
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.adoc$" . doc-mode))
(add-hook 'doc-mode-hook
'(lambda ()
(require 'asciidoc)))))
(:name lisppaste :type elpa)
(:name emacs-goodies-el :type apt-get)))
(setq my-packages
'(cssh el-get switch-window vkill google-maps nxhtml xcscope yasnippet)
(mapcar 'el-get-source-name el-get-sources)))
(el-get 'sync my-packages)
Please note that when you unreference a package from `my-packages',
it remains locally installed.
Going one step further with the idea of a canonical list, el-get
provides the command `el-get-cleanup', which will remove all packages
absent from `my-packages'. This allows, in effect, to put under version
control only the user init file, instead of the whole `.emacs.d'
directory, and still enjoy a truly portable emacs configuration.
In the code example above, replace the last line with the following:
(el-get-cleanup my-packages)
(el-get 'sync my-packages)

File:, Node: Setup Customization, Prev: Distributed Setup, Up: Setup
6.4 Setup Customization
Even though the defaults that are provided by El-Get provide all that
you need to get it working, there may be a reason to manually define
certain settings, particularly for portability.
Path where packages are installed. Defaults to
Path for the `el-get' package. Defaults to
If this is set, El-Get will be installed using the target
`branch'. This takes precedence over setting
`el-get-master-branch' in the installation settings, see *Note
Use this to specify your own fork of El-Get for installation.
This directory stores a local list of ELPA recipes.
As above for ELPA, this directory stores a local list of emacswiki
recipes. Defaults to `~/.emacs.d/el-get/el-get/recipes/emacswiki/'.

File:, Node: User Init, Next: Recipes, Prev: Setup, Up: Top
7 User Init
The main task performed by El-Get is package initialization at Emacs
startup. It will care about all of them, their dependencies, and call
code provided by the recipe author. You can add your own setup code and
register it in a way that El-Get will evaluate it at the right time.
The package setup can either go into the `:after' property, or in a
file named `init-package.el' in `el-get-user-package-directory'. Any
such named file will get automatically loaded by El-Get at package init
time, if it exists.
* Menu:
* Before and After properties ::
* Initialization files::

File:, Node: Before and After properties, Next: Initialization files, Up: User Init
7.1 Before and After properties
The `:before' and `:after' properties are evaluated by El-Get in the
package initialization sequence.
This should be a lisp form to evaluate after both the
`Info-directory-list' and the `load-path' variables have been
taken care of, but before loading the package or any further
action from `el-get-init'. It will be run with the variable
`default-directory' set to the package directory.
This should be a lisp form to evaluate after loading the package.
This function is registered for `eval-after-load' against the
recipe library by `el-get-init' once the `:load' and `:features'
have been setup. It will be run with the variable
`default-directory' set to the package directory.
Here's a couple of examples of package recipes that are using
`:before' and `:after' properties:
(:name asciidoc
:type elpa
:after (lambda ()
(autoload 'doc-mode "doc-mode" nil t)
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.adoc$" . doc-mode))
(add-hook 'doc-mode-hook '(lambda ()
(require 'asciidoc)))))
(:name anything
:features anything-config
:before (global-set-key (kbd "M-s a") 'dim:anything-occur)
:after (setq w3m-command nil))

File:, Node: Initialization files, Prev: Before and After properties, Up: User Init
7.2 Initialization files
El-Get will see if a file named `init-package.el' exists in the
directory pointed at by the `el-get-user-package-directory' variable.
When this variable is not nil and if such a file does exist in the
directory, then El-Get will load the user init file for PACKAGE.
The initialization file is loaded at the same time as the `:after'
property would have be run, and just before it if you provide both.
El-Get automatically byte compiles the init file as needed and load
the compiled version.

File:, Node: Recipes, Next: Authoring Recipes, Prev: User Init, Up: Top
8 Recipes
All of El-Get behavior is controled with recipes that you can share,
download, update and author. This chapter explain how to manage your
recipes and how to author them and ship them.
Recipes are a list of properties, which are documented in the
variable EL-GET-SOURCES.
* Menu:
* Organizing recipes::
* Getting more recipes::
* Overriding package files::

File:, Node: Organizing recipes, Next: Getting more recipes, Up: Recipes
8.1 Organizing recipes
El-Get needs to find a package recipe to be able to install or update
it. After that the recipe content is saved in the status file and
cached, so that you can still start Emacs even if you remove the recipe
The variable `el-get-recipe-path' is a list of directory paths where
to look for recipe files, in order. The recipe for a package `example'
must be named `example.rcp'. The first file named that way in the
`el-get-recipe-path' variable is used as the recipe.
To check which recipe is used for a given package, use either the
`M-x el-get-describe' or `M-x el-get-find-recipe-file' command.
This organisation with several path allow you to setup El-Get to use
its own recipes, recipes automatically created from online resources
(such as Emacswiki), and your own local recipes.
As it's easy for El-Get to use your own recipes in the exact same way
than it uses its own recipes, it allows you to share them very easily.
Send the file to a friend and have it store it at the right place.
It's also possible to setup `el-get-sources' with recipe
information. As long as the `type' property is not filled in
`el-get-sources', El-Get will first find the recipe as usual and then
merge the recipe content with the recipe skeleton provided by the
matching `el-get-sources' stanza.
El-Get also supports full User Init files, see *Note User Init::.

File:, Node: Getting more recipes, Next: Overriding package files, Prev: Organizing recipes, Up: Recipes
8.2 Getting more recipes
The command `M-x el-get-emacswiki-refresh' downloads the list of Emacs
Lisp files available at EmacsWiki. El-Get is able to automatically
install any such file at the right place in `el-get-dir'. The
integration of an automatically generated recipe is often not enough,
you often have to add some initialisation code. See *Note User Init::.
The command `el-get-elpa-build-local-recipes' downloads the list of
Emacs Lisp Packages from the ELPA archives you have setup, and make
them automatically available for El-Get.

File:, Node: Overriding package files, Prev: Getting more recipes, Up: Recipes
8.3 Overriding package files
El-Get manages the files associated with a package. You can browse
those files using the `el-get-cd' function. It's possible to hack on
those files, be aware that doing so might break your setup capability
to handle upgrades.

File:, Node: Authoring Recipes, Prev: Recipes, Up: Top
9 Authoring Recipes
Authoring recipes is often very easy. El-Get goal is to adapt to any
Emacs Lisp code and distribution you can find out there in the wild, so
the list of features supported is quite large. Simple cases are very
simple, though.
* Menu:
* Recipe format::
* Dependencies::
* Byte Compilation::
* Autoloads::
* Build::

File:, Node: Recipe format, Next: Dependencies, Up: Authoring Recipes
9.1 Recipe format
The recipe for the hypothetical package named `el-get-example' must be
provided in a file named `el-get-example.rcp'. This file will be
searched for as described in *Note Organizing recipes::. The variable
`el-get-sources' is also considered as a recipe source, as detailed in
*Note Organizing recipes::.
A recipe file contains a lisp property list. Accepted properties are
described in the documentation for the variable `el-get-sources', and
their possible values are described at the same place.
Please refer to that documentation.

File:, Node: Dependencies, Next: Byte Compilation, Prev: Recipe format, Up: Authoring Recipes
9.2 Dependencies
When a recipe provides a `:depends' property, El-Get makes sure that
the given list of packages is installed and initialized before the
package for the current recipe is installed and initialized.

File:, Node: Byte Compilation, Next: Autoloads, Prev: Dependencies, Up: Authoring Recipes
9.3 Byte Compilation
By default, El-Get will recursively byte-compile the directory where
the package is installed, that is each and any file called
`something.el'. Some packages include non Emacs Lisp directories, and
sometime test files that are not meant to pass byte compilation without
errors or warnings. It is possible to setup your recipe to either only
target some files of the package, or to bypass byte compiling entirely.

File:, Node: Autoloads, Next: Build, Prev: Byte Compilation, Up: Authoring Recipes
9.4 Autoloads
Think about providing `autoloads' for your recipe if some are
available. You can provide them yourself too, for packages that should
have support for autoloads but ship without them.
The `:prepare' property of a recipe is the right place where to put
added autoloads, as shown in this example:
(:name undo-tree
:description "Treat undo history as a tree"
:type git
:url ""
:prepare (progn
(autoload 'undo-tree-mode "undo-tree.el"
"Undo tree mode; see undo-tree.el for details" t)
(autoload 'global-undo-tree-mode "undo-tree.el"
"Global undo tree mode" t)))
The `:prepare' property of a recipe is considered the same as the
`:before' one, just evaluated after it. `:prepare' is meant for recipe
authors whereas `:before' is meant for user customisations. See *Note
Before and After properties::.

File:, Node: Build, Prev: Autoloads, Up: Authoring Recipes
9.5 Build
The `:build' property of the recipe allows for OS integration at build
time. Build happens after the package has been fetched, and allows to
run commands such as `make'.
The variable `el-get-emacs' contains the complete path where to find
the current Emacs executable you're running, as that's something build
commands often need.
As shell interpolation can get hairy, El-Get offers you to setup your
build commands as Emacs Lisp list. See the magit recipe for an example:
(:name magit
:website ""
:description "It's Magit! An Emacs mode for Git."
:type github
:pkgname "magit/magit"
:info "."
:autoloads ("50magit")
:build (("make" "all"))
:build/darwin `(,(concat "make EMACS=" el-get-emacs " all")))

Tag Table:
Node: Top762
Node: Introduction1227
Node: Acknowledgments2302
Node: Glossary3752
Ref: Glossary - Init4848
Ref: Glossary - Install5150
Ref: Glossary - Recipe6237
Ref: Glossary - Status6661
Ref: Glossary - Update6919
Node: Installing7157
Node: Install the developper version8030
Node: Skip Emacswiki recipes when installing8775
Node: Usage9611
Node: Setup11900
Node: Basic Setup12296
Node: The el-get function13535
Node: Distributed Setup14811
Node: Setup Customization16705
Node: User Init17851
Node: Before and After properties18538
Node: Initialization files20046
Node: Recipes20699
Node: Organizing recipes21174
Node: Getting more recipes22689
Node: Overriding package files23387
Node: Authoring Recipes23770
Node: Recipe format24201
Node: Dependencies24870
Node: Byte Compilation25216
Node: Autoloads25782
Node: Build26908

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