or is the documentation to blame?
From time to time I have a little niggle with emacs or need a new feature. As I know a bit of elisp it is all too tempting to jump in and code up a solution rather than investigate whether someone else has already solved it.
A case in point would be my database mode. Ian Eure pointed out that there is a way to get sql-mode (a core module) to do something similar to what I wanted.
(defun enter-db () (interactive) (let ((sql-sybase-program "/usr/bin/isql") (sql-server "DB_SERVER") (sql-database "DB_DATABASE") (sql-user "USER") (sql-password "PASSWORD") (sql-sybase-options '())) (delete-other-windows) (sql-sybase) (other-window -1) (switch-to-buffer "*sql*" t) (sql-mode)))
And there are modules that provide similar functionality to my directory aliases although I am extremely pleased I wrote it. I use it many times every day and I love it.
In fact, often when I publish a piece of elisp I have written, people point out that it has already been done. Another example would be when Peter Jones pointed out a much easier way of implementing emacs muse aliases.
So what is the answer? Hang out on #emacs? Improve my google-fu so I can find pre-existing solutions? Or some kind of central documentation / module repository. Yes, the wiki is great but it isn’t comprehensive. It didn’t mention the alternative to database mode until I added it.
Central Documentation / Module Repository
I often think that emacs would make a nice alternative to Visual Basic for creating quick interactive applications if only there was a decent API reference.
I’m not saying CPAN (if you listen carefully, you can hear me very clearly not saying CPAN) but some sort of centralised repository would be nice. However, I suspect the emacs lisp writing part of the community is [far] to small to generate or support the required infrastructure. Yes, I know about ELPA, but when I checked it didn’t have more than half my third-party packages (including org-mode, htmlize and tuareg)
No, I think that the best solution is to keep publishing my code and wait for my readers to tell me about the right way to do things. What do you think?