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Learning GNU Emacs [Paperback]

Debra Cameron , James Elliott , Marc Loy , Eric S. Raymond , Bill Rosenblatt
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 23 2004 0596006489 978-0596006488 3

GNU Emacs is the most popular and widespread of the Emacs family of editors. It is also the most powerful and flexible. Unlike all other text editors, GNU Emacs is a complete working environment--you can stay within Emacs all day without leaving. Learning GNU Emacs, 3rd Edition tells readers how to get started with the GNU Emacs editor. It is a thorough guide that will also "grow" with you: as you become more proficient, this book will help you learn how to use Emacs more effectively. It takes you from basic Emacs usage (simple text editing) to moderately complicated customization and programming.The third edition of Learning GNU Emacs describes Emacs 21.3 from the ground up, including new user interface features such as an icon-based toolbar and an interactive interface to Emacs customization. A new chapter details how to install and run Emacs on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux, including tips for using Emacs effectively on those platforms.Learning GNU Emacs, third edition, covers:

  • How to edit files with Emacs
  • Using the operating system shell through Emacs
  • How to use multiple buffers, windows, and frames
  • Customizing Emacs interactively and through startup files
  • Writing macros to circumvent repetitious tasks
  • Emacs as a programming environment for Java, C++, and Perl, among others
  • Using Emacs as an integrated development environment (IDE)
  • Integrating Emacs with CVS, Subversion and other change control systems for projects with multiple developers
  • Writing HTML, XHTML, and XML with Emacs
  • The basics of Emacs Lisp
The book is aimed at new Emacs users, whether or not they are programmers. Also useful for readers switching from other Emacs implementations to GNU Emacs.

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Product Description


...will give you a firm grounding in all of emacs basic features, as well as a tour of its more advanced features... -- Jeff Clites, MACTech, Dec 2001 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A Guide to Unix Text Processing

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful but frustrating.... June 23 2007
I find that the book itself is good and informative. Other reviewers have said that it is not advanced enough, but the book description itself says that the book is intended for new Emacs users.

I must say, though, that it is a little frustrating to read. I thought the copy editors at O'Reilly would be more on-the-ball; obviously I was mistaken. Even within the first fifty (50) pages, there are numerous formatting, spelling, and punctuation errors. Also, I have found mis-matched parentheses, something that definitely would have been caught if the authors wrote the manuscript using Emacs. I suppose I expected better from a book that has Eric Raymond as one of the authors.

Overall it is a good book, and a useful reference. I have learned a lot, and will continue learning as I go.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for most Emacs users Feb. 14 2001
By A Customer
I have been a vi user for a long time (6 years) and never thought I needed an alternative. This book has shown me the wonderful world of Emacs and its many modes. For very fast editing of text files and search/replace operations, vi is still the best. But for anything else, Emacs is a real time saver. I work a lot with the Fortran and LaTeX modes (with the AUCTeX package) and they both have saved me countless keystrokes, particularly with LaTeX. I find it convenient to keep this book nearby for reference as Emacs' has far too many commands to keep in one's head. It is *certainly* a very good introductory and reference book to Emacs. I will not write Lisp code in my life and the information given here is sufficient for me. Another user has mentioned that rtin and Lynx are better, but most often, you have install another dozen packages before you can use them (atleast if you *don't* use a Linux machine). Gnus works well enough for my occasional newsreading. I highly recommend this book for the 95% that are not too interested in heavy customization or esoteric uses. I most certainly will buy an extra copy to keep as a reference.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Could be larger still July 14 2000
You will become functionally literate in Emacs with this book. It's large and friendly, unlike Emacs, and you have to dedicate a lot of time to learning this lovable, beastly editor. (Emacs is not so much a text editor as an IDE + calendar + interface to Unix tools rolled into one).
Learning Emacs to its very core is a good education for any programmer... I can't imagine a benefit to any non-programmer (or non-technical person) in this day and age (Emacs dates back to the 1970's, technology-wise). Its extensibility is indeed legendary, but RMAIL is simply not as good as a dozen other mail clients; Gnus cannot compare to Netscape's news reader or rtin; w3 is not as good as Lynx for plain-text Web surfing; buffers are nice but I find 'screen' to be a better tool, and 'vi' faster for just plain text editing.
The advantage is Emacs can do all of these together, with major and minor modes providing the hooks (pun intended) to integrate the work. Emacs is a jack of all trades and master of... a few, at least.
All that said, I found the lack of regular expression search/replace examples mystifying, no discussion at all of registers or the mark ring, and after reading the *whole thing* I still wanted more. Maybe more major modes for the next edition? :-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Learning to use one of the best editors! Oct. 2 2001
Since 3 years I habe been using emacs. I began to use emacs only after I bought this book, which I consider the best book to learn many, many features of GNU emacs. The book contains 16 different chapters, from "emacs basics" to "LISP programming". The title of the book is GNU Emacs but the authors have includes many tips for xemacs. I find very good that they explain the commands and then they put all related commands in tables at the end of each chapter. For beginners it is very important to know the definition of the commands, but later it is bettet to find the commands in a table and this is the idea that the authors habe implemented here. Don't wait and buy this book now and begin to discover the world of emacs!
Virgilio Krumbacher
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2.0 out of 5 stars Scratching the surface Dec 5 2002
A couple of things are not very hard in Emacs. Once you have a new major-mode, it's pretty easy to figure out how it works, by pressing C-h b or C-h m. This book is about the easy stuff; it covers a lot of major- and minor modes. However, it hardly tells you anything at all about the way Emacs is structured and configured. And that is one of the hardest things to figure out when you're starting to use Emacs. (I know by experience, I had to go through quite some pain before I was able to work with it properly.)
So if you want more verbose explanations of major Emacs modes, this is the book you want. If you want to figure out how to customize stuff to your needs, this is not the book you want.
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3.0 out of 5 stars easy things lengthily described Sept. 25 2003
The title "learning GNU Emacs is deceiving". It is an introduction to Emacs.
If you plan to use Emacs for software development, it is definitively not sufficient.
Moreover, while introducing a feature, the author think useful to write a full paragraph to explain you why you need it (for instance, why you need the command UNDO).
The positive point is that the features discussed are explained step by step so that you are sure that if you read the whole section you will understand and be able to reproduce.
Finally "GNU Emacs Manual" by R Stallman is the reference an Emacs user will need.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Stuff you never knew even existed plus Eric Raymond :)
Great book .... I've used emacs for 4 years (right around) and i've gained a wealth of knowledge that i never knew .... So; if your going to use Emacs -- get this ... Read more
Published on July 16 2003 by "mass_nerder"
2.0 out of 5 stars Learning GNU emacs
I found this book to be not that good. It is a bit long winded, I had a hard time using the index to find things that I was looking for. Read more
Published on April 4 2000 by Fenton Travers
5.0 out of 5 stars Good one.
C-u 100 M-x read-this-book If only the key combinations were like vi's. Those two finger combinations tire me.
Published on Sept. 10 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars A great tool, a good introduction
Emacs is not just a text editor. It is a true power tool, first of its class and still the best. This book uncovers the full range of emacs capabilities in a friendly and... Read more
Published on July 31 1999
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for beginners
But the part on Lisp programming is very bad. Furthermore, it doesn't tell you how to debug a C program, and it doesn't mention xemacs.
Published on Aug. 20 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as a book can get
This is the only computer-related book I have 2 copies of, one for work and another at home. With this book Emacs goes from a powerful text editor to a powerful productivity tool. Read more
Published on July 24 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference manual
An excellent book, very thorough with clear examples and explanations. If you already know emacs or want to learn, this book is a must. Read more
Published on June 22 1998 by Steve Roche (stephen.roche@stest.ch)
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