March 11, 2012

tl;dr - I reinstalled Emacs24 and you can find my dotfiles here. The commit I made described in this post is here

In the spirit of Avdi’s Emacs reboot, I’ve decided to start from a clean slate with Emacs, this time on Emacs24. Here’s what I did.

Out with the old

The only way to get this sort of thing right is to completely throw away the old stuff, else it’ll be a tempting crutch the first time things go wrong. To start off, I did sudo apt-get remove emacs23 to remove my Ubuntu-installed version of Emacs23.

.. in with the new

I decided to build Emacs24 from source. I also wanted to be able to easily upgrade it easily. Noting that there are couple of options for source control on the project page, I immediately gravitated towards git. And shortly thereafter I stopped the clone because of the ginormous repository size. Since I couldn’t care less about history, but want to be able to upgrade, I went with a shallow clone:

git clone git://git.savannah.gnu.org/emacs.git --depth 1

This was significantly faster. Changing into the newly cloned directory, you need to do the following:

./configure --help

You should be presented with a bunch of options. Like Avdi, I was keen on the gtk3 option, so I went with ./configure --with-x-toolkit=gtk3. You may run into some problems if you’re missing a few development libraries. For example, you may get a complaint about missing libjpeg. Here is the list of things I installed:

sudo apt-get install libgtk-3-dev libjpeg-dev libtiff-dev libgif-dev libxpm-dev texinfo

Run the configure command again and follow that up with make. Emacs should build and then head of compiling lisp. The final step is sudo make install, after which emacs should be available in /usr/local/bin/emacs.

Starter Kit

Previously I used technomancy’s emacs-starter-kit as a basis for my configuration. However, I noticed that the v2 of his kit (which is meant for Emacs24) already has some issues for Ruby and technomancy himself commented that somebody else should own the fix for it as he doesn’t actively use Ruby anymore. This may or may not be an issue, but is certainly concerning. One of technomancy’s other projects I use a lot is rinari, which has been taken over by Eric Schulte. Rinari is still seeing some love and I noticed that they have a starter-kit meant for Emacs24. I peeked inside it and it looks good, so I forked it and landed up doing the following:

git clone git@github.com:marcbowes/emacs24-dotfiles.git ~/.emacs.d

Only now did I book emacs (by typing emacs) and a few seconds went by while the starter kit fetched some ELPA packages. Then I was good to go.


The starter kit is just meant for some ‘sane defaults’. But you should customize it. It’s really easy to do too. With your shiny new Emacs, open up ~/.emacs.d/starter-kit.org and take a read through. In org-mode, you use TAB to cycle visibility on the subsections. The important bits are:

I did the following:


I created ~/.emacs.d/marc/init.el with the following code:

(starter-kit-load "misc-recommended")
(starter-kit-load "org")
(starter-kit-load "ruby")
(starter-kit-load "js")

I typed M-x eval-buffer and got an error relating to paredit. So I stuck in (require 'paredit) above the lisp and things were good.


In ~/.emacs.d/marc/rails.el I wanted to setup all the things I needed for Rails development. This means rinari and nXhtml. Firstly I needed to get a copy of both of these. I headed off to ELPA using M-x packages-list-packages and clicked on ‘rinari’, then ‘Install’. nXhtml, unfortunately, is not in sight. I went to their homepage (which hasn’t changed at all) and found the instructions the same as last time. The long of it is: don’t install from here, it’s broken.

Instead I found a Github mirror which is fairly up to date (last commit about a month ago). I used a git submodule (the -f is because of the .gitignore file):

git submodule add -f git://github.com/emacsmirror/nxhtml.git vendor/nxhtml

Thinking I could now proceed, I added the following code into rails.el

;; rinari
(require 'rinari)

;; nxhtml
(load (concat starter-kit-dir "vendor/nxhtml/autostart.el"))

;; html+erb
(add-to-list 'load-path (concat starter-kit-dir "vendor/nxhtml/util"))
(require 'mumamo-fun)
(setq mumamo-chunk-coloring 'submode-colored)
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.rhtml\\'" . eruby-html-mumamo))
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.html\\.erb\\'" . eruby-html-mumamo))

After M-x eval-buffer to get that loaded, I then hurried off to edit a .html.erb file. Disappointment. I landed up with a bunch of cryptic errors about Making parse-sexp-lookup-properties local to application.html.erb while let-bound! and a bunch of other crap. The mode just generally didn’t work well. Somehow I stumbled upon a mention of mode-compile and used ELPA to install it and added (require 'mode-compile) to my init.el. Thereafter, things were peachy.


I also added browser.el and rbenv.el to configure Emacs to know about Chrome and Rbenv stuff. You can read about rbenv.el here. The contents of browser.el is simply:

;; use Chrome, installed by APT
(setq browse-url-browser-function 'browse-url-generic
      browse-url-generic-program "/opt/google/chrome/chrome")