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1 # Emacs Starter Kit
2
3 This should provide a saner set of defaults than you get normally with
4 Emacs. It's intended for beginners, but it should provide a reasonable
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5 working environment for anyone using Emacs for dynamic languages. The
6 main advantage of the Starter Kit is that it provides better default
7 settings and bundles many useful libraries.
8
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9 The latest version is at http://github.com/technomancy/emacs-starter-kit/
10
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11 ## Learning
12
13 This won't teach you Emacs, but it'll make it easier to get
14 comfortable. To access the tutorial, press control-h followed by t.
15
16 You may also find the [PeepCode Meet Emacs
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17 screencast](http://peepcode.com/products/meet-emacs) helpful. The
18 [Emacs Wiki](http://emacswiki.org) is also very handy.
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19
20 ## Installation
21
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22 1. Install Emacs (at least version 22)
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23 Use your package manager if you have one.
24 Otherwise, Mac users should get it [from Apple](http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/unix_open_source/carbonemacspackage.html).
25 Windows users can get it [from GNU](http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/emacs/windows/emacs-22.3-bin-i386.zip).
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26 2. Move the directory containing this file to ~/.emacs.d
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27 3. Launch Emacs!
28
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29 If you are missing some autoloads after an update (should manifest
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30 itself as "void function: foobar" errors) try M-x regen-autoloads.
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31
32 If you want to keep your regular ~/.emacs.d in place and just launch a
33 single instance using the starter kit, try the following invocation:
34
35 $ emacs -q -l ~/src/emacs-starter-kit/init.el
36
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37 ## Structure
38
39 The init.el file is where everything begins. It's the first file to
40 get loaded. The starter-kit-* files provide what I consider to be
41 better defaults, both for different programming languages and for
42 built-in Emacs features like bindings or registers.
43
44 Files that are pending submission to ELPA are bundled with the starter
45 kit under the directory elpa-to-submit/. The understanding is that
46 these are bundled just because nobody's gotten around to turning them
47 into packages, and the bundling of them is temporary. For these
48 libraries, autoloads will be generated and kept in the loaddefs.el
49 file. This allows them to be loaded on demand rather than at startup.
50
51 There are also a few files that are meant for code that doesn't belong
52 in the Starter Kit. First, the user-specific-config file is the file
53 named after your user with the extension ".el". In addition, if a
54 directory named after your user exists, it will be added to the
55 load-path, and any elisp files in it will be loaded. Finally, the
56 Starter Kit will look for a file named after the current hostname
57 ending in ".el" which will allow host-specific configuration. This is
58 where you should put code that you don't think would be useful to
59 everyone. That will allow you to merge with newer versions of the
60 starter-kit without conflicts.
61
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62 ## ELPA
63
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64 Libraries from [ELPA](http://tromey.com/elpa) are preferred when
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65 available since dependencies are handled automatically, and the burden
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66 to update them is removed from the user. In the long term, ideally
67 everything would be installed via ELPA, and only package.el would need
68 to be distributed with the starter kit. (Or better yet, package.el
69 would come with Emacs...) See starter-kit-elpa.el for a list of
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70 libraries that are pending submission to ELPA. Packages get installed
71 in the elpa/ directory.
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72
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73 There's no vendor/ directory in the starter kit because if an external
74 library is useful enough to be bundled with the starter kit, it should
75 be useful enough to submit to ELPA so that everyone can use it, not
76 just users of the starter kit.
77
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78 ## Contributing
79
80 If you know your way around Emacs, please try out the starter kit as a
81 replacement for your regular dotfiles for a while. If there's anything
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82 you just can't live without, add it or let me know so I can add
83 it. Take a look at what happens in init.el to get started.
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84
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85 Also: see the file TODO. Helping submit new libraries to ELPA is the
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86 easiest way to help out. Grep the project for TODO for other things.
87
88 The latest version is at http://github.com/technomancy/emacs-starter-kit/
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