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Update init.el to avoid reference warnings
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this is a Clojure-friendly emacs config

If you're new to emacs, check out this introductory tutorial!


This project uses an outdated version of CIDER, the package that provides much of the functionality for Clojure development. If you run into issues, try upgrading (instructions below).

Why not just update this package to use the latest CIDER, you ask? This project uses CIDER 0.8.1 so that Clojure for the Brave and True readers are less likely to get confused as they use Emacs for the first time.


  1. Close Emacs.
  2. Delete ~/.emacs or ~/.emacs.d if they exist. (Windows users, your emacs files will probably live in C:\Users\your_user_name\AppData\Roaming\. So, for example, you would delete C:\Users\jason\AppData\Roaming\.emacs.d.) This is where Emacs looks for configuration files, and deleting these files and directories will ensure that you start with a clean slate.
  3. Download the Emacs configuration zip file and unzip it. Its contents should be a folder, emacs-for-clojure-book1. Run mv path/to/emacs-for-clojure-book1 ~/.emacs.d.
  4. Create the file ~/.lein/profiles.clj (Windows users, this is probably C:\Users\your_user_name\.lein\profiles.clj) and add this line to it:
{:user {:plugins [[cider/cider-nrepl "0.8.1"]]}} 

Then open Emacs.


Before upgrading, ensure that your .emacs.d directory is under version control so that you can always revert to a known good state.

To upgrade:

  1. Edit .emacs.d/init.el, adding these lines after line 12:

    (add-to-list 'package-archives
                 '("melpa-stable" . "") t)
    (add-to-list 'package-pinned-packages '(cider . "melpa-stable") t)
  2. Close Emacs.

  3. Run rm -Rf .emacs.d/elpa/cider-*

  4. Open Emacs. You'll probably see some errors and your theme won't load. That's ok.

  5. In Emacs, run M-x package-refresh contents.

  6. In Emacs, run M-x package-install cider.

  7. Close and re-open Emacs.

  8. Open .lein/profiles.clj and remove [cider/cider-nrepl "0.8.1"] from it.

That should install the latest version. Enjoy!


I've tried to separate everything logically and document the purpose of every line. init.el acts as a kind of table of contents. It's a good idea to eventually go through init.el and the files under the customizations directory so that you know exactly what's going on.

Supporting CSS, HTML, JS, etc.

Emacs has decent support for CSS, HTML, JS, and many other file types out of the box, but if you want better support, then have a look at my personal emacs config's init.el. It's meant to read as a table of contents. The emacs.d as a whole adds the following:

  • Customizes js-mode and html editing
    • Sets indentation level to 2 spaces for JS
    • enables subword-mode so that M-f and M-b break on capitalization changes
    • Uses tagedit to give you paredit-like functionality when editing html
    • adds support for coffee mode
  • Uses enh-ruby-mode for ruby editing. enh-ruby-mode is a little nicer than the built-in ruby-mode, in my opinion.
    • Associates many filenames and extensions with enh-ruby-mode (.rb, .rake, Rakefile, etc)
    • Adds keybindings for running specs
  • Adds support for YAML and SCSS using the yaml-mode and scss-mode packages

In general, if you want to add support for a language then you should be able to find good instructions for it through Google. Most of the time, you'll just need to install the "x-lang-mode" package for it.