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What is (Doom) Emacs?

Zac Jones

May 17, 2020

Emacs is a programmable, text-oriented user interface. What that means is that for the most part it is a text editor but that is just on the surface, it can do so much more.

There are a few different flavors of Emacs. Admittedly I don't know the differences well but to name a few, there are: (Vanilla) Emacs, spacemacs emacs, and doom emacs. I've started by using Doom Emacs so that may affect how I describe the editor.

The target audience of this software are programmers so much of the jargon that is used is tuned for people who code. For instance, Doom Emacs says it is a framework for stubborn martian hackers.

Programmers lover their shortcuts and Emacs is no exception. You could unplug your mouse and be better off navigating the program than if you had one and tried using it. There are shortcuts and commands for everything (very confusing to start out with) and very little GUI to interact with.

Because it's programmable, almost everything can be customized. You configure Emacs through config.el, init.el, and package.el files that let you install packages and tweak functionality to exactly how you like it.

What functionality that you want to add is up to you but Doom Emacs comes with quite a few modules preloaded for you.

Workflows and efficiency are a huge part of the reason you would want to get started with Emacs.

The big reason I downloaded emacs was to start a second brain through org-roam. This module lets you add bi-directional links to any of your notes. This creates a knowledge graph with your notes.

On top of notes, you can manage tasks through Emacs tasks feature as well as schedule out your week through the Agenda. Tasks and Documents can be tagged for further organization and scheduled so you can review at a later date.

Emacs also handles very well as a text editor for your coding projects. There are several options for built-in terminals to run the code that you are building. It has an amazing git client as well.

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