Because the Emacs defaults are not so great sometimes.
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Emacs Starter Kit

Version 3 of the Emacs Starter Kit is implemented as a prose guide to various packages and settings which can greatly improve the Emacs experience.


Older versions of the Starter Kit attempted to be one-size-fits-all codebase intended to be dropped into your ~/.emacs.d directory wholesale. While this proved very popular, taking a big bundle of unrelated functionality leads to simply adopting things without developing any real understanding. When something goes wrong or even just behaves differently from what you'd like, you don't know where to look to fix it.

I've since come to realize users are better suited by small, focused packages which provide specific pieces of new functionality. So rather than putting up in a big pile of code, the Starter Kit has shifted to become merely a guide. As an Emacs user, you're going to have to get comfortable seeking out new pieces of elisp, bringing them in, configuring them, and eventually writing your own. The Starter Kit can help this process by giving hints as to where to start and what to look for, but constructing a solid configuration is ultimately a personal journey for which you must take the first steps.

Getting Started

If you do nothing else, start by adding Marmalade to your packages list and installing the better-defaults package. Place this in your ~/.emacs.d/init.el file:

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

Evaluate it with M-x eval-buffer and run M-x package-install [RET] better-defaults.

If you liked ... you might also like

These are all libraries that focus on doing one thing and do it consistently well.

You can drop some code into init.el to install these automatically when they are missing:

(defvar my-packages '(better-defaults paredit idle-highlight-mode ido-ubiquitous
                                      find-file-in-project magit smex scpaste))

(dolist (p my-packages)
  (when (not (package-installed-p p))
    (package-install p)))


Copyright © 2008-2014 Phil Hagelberg and contributors

Files are licensed under the same license as Emacs unless otherwise specified. See the file COPYING for details.