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Posts Tagged ‘ELPA’

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)

My Solution

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?

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