Short Story: el-get allows you to install and manage
elisp code for
Emacs. It supports lots of differents types of sources and is able to
install them, update them and remove them, but more importantly it
will init them for you.
That means it will care about
require ing the features you need,
ing the files, setting the Info paths so that
C-h i shows the new
documentation you now depend on, and finally call your own
for you to setup the extension. Or call it a package.
How to Install it?
Here’s the lazy installer:
;; So the idea is that you copy/paste this code into your *scratch* buffer, ;; hit C-j, and you have a working el-get. (url-retrieve "https://github.com/dimitri/el-get/raw/master/el-get-install.el" (lambda (s) (end-of-buffer) (eval-print-last-sexp)))
You have to type
C-j with the cursor at the end of the last line, but
still on the line. C-j runs the command eval-print-last-sexp, so it will
evaluate the code you’re looking at, and that will
git clone el-get at the
Note that the first line conditional allows you to add this elisp code into your emacs init file directly.
What is this?
Of course, my emacs setup is managed in a private git repository. Some
#emacs are using
git submodules (or was it straight import)
for managing external repositories in there, but all I can say is that I
frown on this idea. I want an easy canonical list of packages I depend on to
run emacs, and I want this documentation to be usable as-is. Enters el-get!
(setq el-get-sources '(cssh el-get switch-window vkill google-maps nxhtml xcscope yasnippet (:name magit :after (lambda () (global-set-key (kbd "C-x C-z") 'magit-status))) (: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 () (turn-on-auto-fill) (require 'asciidoc))))) (:name lisppaste :type elpa) (:name dictionary-el :type apt-get) (:name emacs-goodies-el :type apt-get))) (el-get)
So now you have a pretty good documentation of the packages you want installed, where to get them, and how to install them. For the advanced methods (such as elpa or apt-get), you basically just need the package name. When relying on a bare git repository, you need to give some more information, such as the URL to clone and the build steps if any. Then also what features to require and maybe where to find the texinfo documentation of the package, for automatic inclusion into your local Info menu.
The good news is that not only you now have a solid readable description of all that in a central place, but this very description is all (el-get) needs to do its magic. This 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.
How to use it?
You see that
el-get-sources exemple up there? It finishes with a single
(el-get) call. That’s it. It will install new
sources on the list and
only init already installed ones.
The status of each package is tracked into
(by default) and can get the values
Sync or async?
Most often you want
el-get-build to stay out of the
way and be asynchronous, so that you can continue using Emacs while your
new package is getting ready. But imagine you’re starting up Emacs after a
git pull on the other computer (after a commute, say), and there’s some
newer packages for this instance to consider installing.
Now you want a synchronous install, right?
So, by default
(el-get) is asynchronous, but you can ask for it to be
sync, or to still be asynchronous but to wait until it finished before to
give control back:
(el-get 'sync) (el-get 'wait)
You even get a progress report!
See the documentation of the
el-get-sources variable for details.
Some sources are contributed to
el-get directly, so that you only have to
put in the
el-get-sources the name of the package you want to
Should you need some local specific setup, you can do that by providing a
partial sources missing the
:type property: your local properties will get
merged into the recipes one.
Also, the variable
el-get-recipe-path allows you to maintain local recipes
in case you either dislike the default one or are crafting some new one not
commited to the main repository yet. But please do consider sending them
We do not intend to provide recipes for advanced types such as
elpa because there’s so little to win here, and maintaining a package list
would take too much time.
make install that will move files into a proper destination place,
that’s for distributors to care, like
debian for example. In our case, you
probably just want your package
foo to be all installed into
~/.emacs.d/el-get/foo, right? So, no
el-get will byte compile the elisp for the package when its source
definition includes a
:compile property set to the list of files to byte
compile (or to a single file), or all the
.el files found in the package
when there’s no
el-get offers a variety of specific hooks (read the source), and two
general purposes hooks facilities:
el-get-post-update-hooks, called with the package name as argument.
Some more commands?
- M-x el-get-sync
Synchronously make your current el-get status match
el-get-sources, by installing and initializing all your packages.
- M-x el-get-cd
Will prompt for a package name, with completion, then open its directory with dired.
- M-x el-get-install
Will prompt for a package name, with completion, then install it following the
sourceyou’ve already setup. Depending on the
package, this will fail for an already installed package.
When using C-u, +el-get-install+ will allow for installing any package you have a recipe for, instead of only proposing packages from +el-get-sources+.
- M-x el-get-update
Will prompt for a package name, with completion, then update it. This will run the
initthe package again.
- M-x el-get-update-all
Will update all packages used in
el-get-sources. 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.
- M-x el-get-remove
Will prompt for a package name, with completion, then remove it. Depending on the
typeof the package, this often means simply deleting the directory where the source package lies. Sometime we have to use external tools instead (
apt-get, e.g.). No effort is made to unload the features.
When using C-u, +el-get-remove+ will allow for installing any package you have a recipe for, instead of only proposing packages from +el-get-sources+.
- M-x el-get-make-recipes
Will prompt for an existing directory where to output all your new recipe files: one file for each entry in
el-get-sourcesthat is not just a
symboland that is not found anywhere in
C-u alternatives are not provided for the
el-get-init command, on the grounds that if you want to use them you
probably should now have the package into your
TODO: explain the symlinks in
~/.emacs.d/el-get. For now, read the source
and try it out.
Please see the documentation for the
el-get-methods and provide a patch!
bzr support for example was only about writing 2 functions, mostly
using copy paste. Here’s the patch: http://github.com/dimitri/el-get/commit/494551a9e75ebeb9ad043da175e6b2140d0d87d3
el-get will now save some package status information into the file
el-get-status-file, it’s a property list of the package symbol and its
status. The status is set to "required" when you enter
is changed to
installed upon successful completion of the installation,
including the build.
Now, if you
el-get-install an already installed package, this is an
error. If the status is "required", a previous install failed, you have to
el-get-remove the package before continuing. If the status is "installed",
well, the package is known installed.
To reinit the status file you might need to execute the following code:
(mapc (lambda (p) (el-get-save-package-status p "installed")) (el-get-package-name-list))