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README for the Emacs Code Browser (ECB) version 2.40.1
This package contains a code browser for several programming-languages for
(X)Emacs. For instructions on how to use the browser read the online-help
either with the shipped info-manual (see "Usage" below) or direct from the
ECB-Homepage at
The latest version can be found at:
The short story:
With Emacs >= 23.2 there is nothing to do. With XEmacs or Emacs < 23.2 you
have to install the CEDET-suite by hand.
The long story:
1. Emacs-version: ECB works only with (X)Emacs >= 21! If you have an older
one, please upgrade.
2. CEDET-suite: If Emacs >= 23.2 is used then CEDET is already integrated
into Emacs and there is nothing to do.
For users of any XEmacs-version, any Emacs-version < 23.2 or the latest
author CEDET version: Get it from, read
the setup-instructions in and
read also the shipped file `INSTALL'.
*Please note*: If ECB detects an author version of CEDET (as available
at then ECB will ALWAYS try to use that
one even if you use Emacs >= 23.2! This is for users who want to use
latest Emacs >= 23.2 but still prefer using the latest author version of
CEDET instead of the Emacs-integrated one.
So if you want to use the Emacs-integrated CEDET-suite of Emacs >= 23.2
you have to ensure that no author-version of CEDET is in the `load-path'!
This means that the library cedet.el of the author-version MUST NOT be
loaded into Emacs (as described in the file INSTALL of CEDET)! This is a
valid check: (locate-library "semantic-ctxt") must return nil!
3. Only for XEmacs-users: If you use XEmacs you must have installed the
package c-support (contains hideshow.el). If you want to read the
online-help of ECB in HTML-format you must have the library browse-url
(part of the mail-lib XEmacs package) installed; this package is also
needed for submitting problem-reports to the ECB-maintainers!
4. Optional for Java-coding: ECB works very well with the JDEE package ( but JDEE is not required by ECB.
Do not install ECB before you have successfully installed the requirements!
*IMPORTANT*: ECB is no longer runnable as XEmacs-package via the
package-manager of XEmacs. This is because CEDET is not available as
XEmacs-package. Therefore ECB can also not be run as XEmacs-package. If CEDET
will later become a XEmacs-package then probably ECB will come back as
XEmacs-package. But in the meanwhile you have to install ECB "by hand".
1. Fulfill all requirements ECB needs (s.a. Requirements)
ECB performs two autom checks:
- At load-time: It checks if the cedet-suite is at least installed so
ECB can be loaded. If not it reports an error.
- At start-time: It checks if the correct versions of cedet and
semantic are installed and gives you proper feedback.
So if you are not sure if you have installed the required packages at
all or if you have installed the correct versions of these packages then
do not worry about this, just go on with the following installation
steps: If ECB is missing something it will give you proper feedback and
support not later than at load-time or start-time!
2. Download and unpack the ECB archive (probably you have already done this
3. Add the new ECB-directory to your `load-path' variable.
You *MUST* add the ECB-install-directory to the `load-path' either by
changing the `load-path' variable directly in your `.emacs' or
`site-lisp/site-start.el' or by working with a file `subdirs.el'(1).
So for example the needed entry for your `.emacs'-file could be:
(add-to-list 'load-path
*ATTENTION*: ECB is NOT properly installed if it's directory is not
added to `load-path' and for example just loaded by
(load-file "/path/to/ecb/ecb.el")
Do not do this! It will not work!
4. Load ECB by adding code to your `.emacs':
If you want to load the complete ECB at (X)Emacs-loadtime (Advantage:
All ECB-options available after loading ECB. Disadvantage: Increasing
(require 'ecb)
If you want to load the ECB first after starting it by `ecb-activate'
(Advantage: Fast loading(3). Disadvantage: ECB- and semantic-options
first available after starting ECB):
(require 'ecb-autoloads)
This loads all available autoloads of ECB, e.g. `ecb-activate',
`ecb-minor-mode', `ecb-byte-compile' and `ecb-show-help'.
Regardless which method you prefer: In both cases the used statement
must be placed *after* the statement of step 3!
Only for users of a manually installed author version of the CEDET-suite
(not that one integrated into Emacs >= 23.2): Instructions for loading
CEDET into Emacs must be placed somewhere before the statements needed for
loading ECB (s.a.)!
5. Restart (X)Emacs.
ECB is now ready for use and can be activated by calling `M-x ecb-activate'
or `ecb-minor-mode'. Now you can either starting using ECB or you can do
these optional installation steps:
6. Reading the online help with `ecb-show-help'
Maybe you are interested to read the online-help of ECB before first
7. Bytecompiling ECB with `ecb-byte-compile'
This byte compiles ECB. You can safely ignore all messages if there are
any. (You can also bytecompile ECB from the command-line either by using
the `Makefile' or by using the batch-file `make.bat'; just read the
comments in that file you choose.)
8. Installing the Info-help of ECB
The ECB distribution contains a subdirectory `info-help' which contains
the online-help of ECB in Info-format. You can install this online help
so it's available in the Top-directory of Info. There are two ways to do
- Use "install-info" (recommended):
1. Copy the files of the subdirectory `info-help' into the
info-directory of Emacs
2. Install the file `info-help/' with the command
"install-info" (if available on your system) in the `dir'-file.
The supplied `Makefile' offers a target `install-help' which does
both of these steps. You have just to call `make install-help' with
the correct EMACSINFOPATH set (see the comment in `Makefile'). Here
is an example:
make EMACSINFOPATH=/path/to/emacs/info install-help
- Manually Installation:
Copy the files of the subdirectory `info-help' into the
info-directory of Emacs and modify the file `dir' manually.
But it doesn't matter if you do not execute this step (8.) because the
online help of ECB is always available though, see `ecb-show-help'.
Using Makefile
Makefile can be configured using Makefile.conf, for which there is a template in
Makefile.conf.template. Usually it's enough to set a path to CEDET (if you use
repo version) and EMACSINFOPATH to local (e.g. ~/.emacs.d/info).
For Linux, Makefile tries to use reasonable defaults.
You can print configuration used in Makefile using `make printconf'.
Call "M-x ecb-activate" to activated ECB.
Call "M-x ecb-customize-most-important" to get a list of the most important
options of ECB. These are options you should at least know that they exist.
Call "M-x ecb-show-help" to get a detailed online-help for ECB. If you are
using ECB the first time you should read the online help accurately!
Send comments, bug reports and improvement suggestions to:
*IMPORTANT*: Cause of extra appearance of SPAM in the mailing-lists,
SourceForge has changed its policy: Now it is only possible to post to the
mailing-list for users who have subscribed this mailing-list.
So please be aware you will not be able to send comments, bug reports and
improvement suggestions before you have subscribed the ECB-mailing-list. See
the section "Mailing-list" at the ECB-website at
how to do this.