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Floor Drees

Published at 28.03.2014

Cloud Native

We Visited the First Emacs Meetup in Berlin

Yesterday, little after seven-thirty, the Emacs Berlin user group came together for the very first time. As a Textmate-turned-Atom user myself, I was nothing but ears for the stories about what I’ve learned to be one of the most powerful tools out there.

The format of the meetup is an interesting one. Everybody is expected to show something to the rest of the group and you get up to 10 minutes to do so. Plus, you’re requested to prepare notes beforehand and share the link to your gist on the mailing list, so people can easily follow along on their own machine.

I diligently wrote down all tips shared at what is already jokingly referred to as “the biggest yak shaving meetup in town”. Please refer to the official notes, if you distrust my judgement as an Atom user. Really, it’s ok.

Table of Contents

After the group shared some random advice on org-mode, multiple-cursors, windows management (like Projectile), magit and the Space Cadet keyboard (go check it out) in a free format, Andreas took to the projector to showcase Mac Link Grabber, a piece of code that allows you to grab the current link or selection from an open Mac application and insert it as a hyperlink at point in an org-mode document.

Next Florian shared one of his favorite tools, org-capture, which allows him to take notes without interrupting his workflow. Florian shared a gist with all of Capture’s custom options and I was especially taken by its default templates (org-capture-templates), as I often feel that Emacs is not that… visually attractive.

Not much

I really enjoyed Til’s presentation on not-much, a search engine and Emacs front-end for locally stored email. It’s main features, fast local search, tagging, no-mail-gets-deleted policy, and its append-only, are powerful. We all had to giggle about Til when he referred to ‘the warm fuzzy feeling of owning your mail’.

abl-mode and gimme-cat

Ulas then showed his abl-mode. Emacs comes with all building blocks to unite a development process involving text and commands running on the shell. There is no reason to switch between editing, running commands and analyzing output. “abl-mode aims to do this for Python development involving virtual environments and unit tests, enabling you to easily run tests and get speedy feedback on the changes you made.”

Arne (Emacs Berlin initiator) turned out to be a big fan of Ulas’ gimme-cat, an Elisp snippet that gives you a cat picture in Emacs.


Arne wrapped up the official part of yesterday’s meetup by sharing some elisp tips (go check out the notes) and by talking about rcodetools and xmpfilter to do inline Ruby evaluation (“which totally impresses people”).

I had a great time and the Emacsers (is that how you call them?) did as well, as they stayed well until half past ten. The meetup is definitely a recommended visit.

To join the Emacs Berlin mailing list, simply send an email to

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