From Vim to Emacs

As you probably know I’m active Vim user, I’ve been using Vim daily for about 3 years. I’ve started with a vimconfig of my friend @kossnocorp then I tried Vim distribution called “Janus”, but it was complex and I decided to create my own small vimconfig, now it’s about 200 LOC and I’m always trying to keep it as simple as possible. I’ve not written any single Vim plugin in the three years, I have a small one (vim-railsapi, but it’s not really smth serious, one of the reasons is VimL, I think :)

A few days ago

I’ve decided to try Emacs.


  • EmacsLisp instead of VimL
  • Built-in package manager from version 24
  • Good support for Lisps including Clojure
  • And for other funcitonal languages
  • And of course just for fun

What do I really need?

  • Of course Vi motions
  • Relative numbers
  • Supertab auto completion
  • Buffer explorer
  • Ack for files

Support for langauges it’s not really a problem in editors like Emacs, I think, that is why I’m not counting it here. I started with my own empty .emacs.d First thing I added was evil-mode, because my fingers can’t live w/o vi-motions. Evil-mode works really perfect without any problems and helped me to reduce amount of Ctrl clicks. Next step is relative numbers and I was surprised to find mode for that linum-relative which is good and customizable. For auto completion I’ve started with auto-complete which works great, but popup window doesn’t look beautiful. Also “smart-tab” mode is available.

emacs popup

Buffer List is kind of built-in buffer explorer in Emacs you can open it with C-x C-b

buffer list

And for Ack I’ve just installed ack plugin. list-packages

Basically you have mode/packages for everything:

  • Rails with rinari
  • Clojure mode
  • Paredit mode
  • Ruby mode
  • YAML mode
  • SML mode
  • Haskell mode
  • Cucumber with feature-mode
  • Zencoding mode

I’ve spent one single day to setup my Emacs environment and I feel myself pretty comfortabe. Which is amazing. Let’s see if it helps me to increase my productivity.

PS: Emacs crash course

  • Close Emacs: C-x C-c
  • Open file: C-x C-f
  • Swith “split”: C-x o
  • Make horizontal “split”: C-x 2
  • Make vertical “split”: C-x 3
  • Kill buffer: C-x k