You Learn Something Every Day

Just learned how to save about a bazillion keystrokes over the remainder of my file-editing & programming life.

This is because I just learned that C-M-l (or Control-Meta-l, where "Meta" is the "Diamond" key on a Sun keyboard) is the (X)Emacs key sequence for "switch-to-other-buffer".

I have been doing this via Control-x, "b", Enter, or in other words, switch-buffer, then pressing Enter to accept the default, which has the same definition as "other-buffer". And I do it all the time.

D'oh...

By the way, I have been using (X)Emacs for approximately 20 years. I was lucky enough to find it when I first started on Unix, because I felt Vi was not powerful enough. Of course, any mention of Emacs and Vi in the same breath is likely to start a war, so I apologize to those who are not interested...

Comments:

I have no wish to engage in the war, but I'm curious to know what you found lacking in Vi. I ask this entirely out of curiosity as I've already converted from XEmacs to Vi and have no intention of returning. But I am always interested to learn of the sometimes amazing little ditties available in power text editors.

Posted by Mitch Oliver on January 14, 2009 at 10:11 PM PST #

I came from being a Systems Programmer on VAX/VMS, so what was painfully missing from Vi, but I was used to getting from "EDIT/EDT" were two things:

- The ability to see more than one file at a time
- The ability to move around the text being edited, while editing it, without having to change modes

These set me on my quest for a better Unix editor. Thankfully Emacs already existed.

I have since become quite adept at Vi, by the way :)

Posted by Tim Cook on January 16, 2009 at 06:53 AM PST #

Thanks Tim -- you've reminded me to pick up emacs again!
(having switched back to vi a while ago when emacs wasn't so widely installed and I had to use lots of different systems)

Your response to Mitch highlights a major difference: emacs is mode-less, so there's no need to keep "am I in insert or command mode" in your head. Modal interfaces commonly trip up both novices and expert users; they're not something you tend to get intrinsically much better at over time. Like occasionally being in the wrong gear in a manual car.

Posted by Stuart Remphrey on February 18, 2009 at 02:34 PM PST #

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Tim Cook's Weblog The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

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