Title : Trying to move away from emacs
Author: Solène
Date  : 03 July 2018
Tags  : unix emacs

Hello

Today I will write about my current process of trying to get rid of
emacs. I use it extensively with org-mode for taking notes and making
them into a agenda/todo-list, this helped me a lot to remember tasks
to do and what people told to me. I also use it for editing of
course, any kind of text or source code. This is usually the editor I
use for writing the blog articles that you can read here. This one is
written using **ed**. I also read my emails in emacs with mu4e (which
last version doesn't work anymore on powerpc due to a c++14 feature
used and no compiler available on powerpc to compile it...).

While I like Emacs, I never liked to use one big tool for everything.
My current quest is to look for a portable and efficient way to
replace differents emacs parts. I will not stop using Emacs if the
replacements are not good enough to do the job.

So, I identified my Emacs uses:

+ todo-list / agenda / taking notes
+ writing code (perl, C, php, Common LISP)
+ IRC
+ mails
+ writing texts
+ playing chess by mail
+ jabber client

I will try for each topic to identify alternatives and challenge them
to Emacs.

## Todo-list / Agenda / Notes taking

This is the most important part of my emacs use and it is the one I
would really like to get out of Emacs. What I need is: writing
quickly a task, add a deadline to it, add explanations or a
description to it, be able to add sub-tasks for a task and be able to
display it correctly (like in order of deadline with days / hours
before deadline).

I am trying to convert my current todo-list to **taskwarrior**, the
learning curve is not easy but after spending one hour playing with it
while reading the man page, I have understood enough to replace
org-mode with it. I do not know if it will be as good as org-mode but
only time will let us know.

By the way, I found **vit**, a ncurses front-end for taskwarrior.

## Writing code

Actually Emacs is a good editor. It supports syntax coloring, can
evaluates regions of code (depend of the language), the editor is
nice etc... I discovered **jed** which is a emacs-like editor written
in C+libslang, it's stable and light while providing more features
than mg editor (available in OpenBSD base installation).

While I am currently playing with **ed** for some reasons (I will
certainly write about it), I am not sure I could use it for
writing a software from scratch.

## IRC

There are lots of differents IRC clients around, I just need to pick
up one.


## Mails

I really enjoy using mu4e, I can find my mails easily with it, the
query system is very powerful and interesting. I don't know what I
could use to replace it. I have been using alpine some times ago, and
I tried mutt before mu4e and I did not like it. I have heard about
some tools to manage a maildir folder using unix commands, maybe I
should try this one. I did not any searches on this topic at the
moment.


## Writing text

For writing plain text like my articles or for using $EDITOR for
differents tasks, I think that ed will do the job perfectly :-) There
is ONE feature I really like in Emacs but I think it's really easy to
recreate with a script, the function bind on M-q to wrap a text to
the correct column numbers!

Update: meanwhile I wrote a little perl script using Text::Wrap
module available in base Perl. It wraps to 70 columns. It could be
extended to fill blanks or add a character for the first line of a
paragraph.

    #!/usr/bin/env perl
    use strict;use warnings;
    use Text::Wrap qw(wrap $columns);
    open IN, '<'.$ARGV[0];
    $columns = 70;
    my @file = <IN>;
    print wrap("","",@file);

This script does not modify the file itself though.

Some people pointed me that Perl was too much for this task. I have
been told about Groff or Par to format my files.

Finally, I found a very **BARE** way to handle this. As I write my
text with ed, I added an new alias named "ruled" with spawn ed with a
prompt of 70 characters #, so I have a rule each time ed displays its
prompt!!! :D

It looks like this for the last paragraph:

    ###################################################################### c
    been told about Groff or Par to format my files.
    
    Finally, I found a very **BARE** way to handle this. As I write my
    text with ed, I added an new alias named "ruled" with spawn ed with a
    prompt of 70 characters #, so I have a rule each time ed displays its
    prompt!!! :D
    .
    ###################################################################### w

Obviously, this way to proceed only works when writing the content at
first. If I need to edit a paragraph, I will need a tool to format
correctly my document again.


## Jabber client

Using jabber inside Emacs is not a very good experience. I switched
to profanity (featured some times ago on this blog).


## Playing Chess

Well, I stopped playing chess by mails, I am still waiting for my
recipient to play his turn since two years now. We were exchanging
the notation of the whole play in each mail, by adding our turn each
time, I was doing the rendering in Emacs, but I do not remember
exactly why but I had problems with this (replaying the string).