Switching to a Literate Emacs Configuration
Emacs’ org-mode has a number of nifty features. Among them is the ability to
sequentially evaluate all the code blocks in an org document with
This makes literate programming extremely easy. Just write a document, intersperse some code blocks, and evaluate. Literate programming has numerous applications: it’s a handy tool for reproducible research, for example.
A number of folks in the Emacs community structure their configuration files as literate programs in org-mode. I’ve been thinking about that for a while, and I finally gave it a shot last weekend. I got some pretty nice results!
How to do it:
If you’re interested in rewriting your own configuration as a literate org program, it’s simple:
- Create a
- Take the contents of your
.emacs, if you used that), and move it into that
configuration.orgfile. Wrap it in an
emacs-lispsource block, like so:
#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp (all-your-config-stuff ...) #+END_SRC
- Replace the contents of your
init.elwith one line:
That’s the first thing Emacs’ll run; it’ll read through that
file and evaluate that code block.
- If you restart Emacs everything should still work the way it used to, since the same code is being run. Congratulations: your configuration is now structured as a (really basic) literate program!
- Break up your configuration into multiple code blocks, structured with headers and useful explanations. This last step may take a while. =)
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