Emacs

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Curriculum[edit]

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 Coder Merlin™  Computer Science Curriculum Data

Unit: Lab basics

Experience Name: Emacs (W1004)

Knowledge and skills:

  • §10.121 Demonstrate proficiency in managing files and processes using a command line interface
  • §10.212 Employ various productivity tools to gather and analyze authentic data to serve as the basis of programs

Topic areas: Emacs

Classroom time (average): 45 minutes

Study time (average): 240 minutes

Successful completion requires knowledge: understanding that documents are preserved in files; understanding the difference between document files and temporary files

Successful completion requires skills: starting, stopping, and suspending emacs; creating a new file, opening an existing file, saving modifications to a file; navigating forward and backward through a file by character, word, sentence, and line; navigating to the start and end of the document; searching for text incrementally (forwards and backwards); marking a region of text and cutting, copying, and pasting text

Background[edit]

emacs is a powerful text editor and environment that we'll be using heavily throughout our experiences. You can read more about emacs in this guided tour emacs tour but the best way to learn emacs is just by jumping in to the tutorial. Be very, very thorough! However, you may safely skip the sections titled "Multiple Frames" and "Disabled Commands".

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Caution
Do not skip this tutorial or skimp on your effort. Learning emacs is essential to doing well and every minute that you invest in learning emacs will pay off a hundred fold.

The Tutorial[edit]

Log on to the server and start emacs:

john-williams@codermerlin:~$  emacs

emacs will start. Read the startup screen closely. It's important to learn to read messages thoroughly; don't skim, read. A careful reading will tell you exactly what you need to do to start the tutorial.

A helpful emacs key reference is available here: Emacs Keys

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Helpful Hint

Remember that on the wiki key combinations are displayed as two adjacent keyboard keys, separated by a hyphen. Within the emacs tutorial, a different method is used.

On the Wiki Within emacs Tutorial
CONTROL-h C-h
ALT-x M-x


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Helpful Hint

As you work through the tutorial nearly all keys will behave exactly as described, with one notable exception. The tutorial describes the undo command as CONTROL-/. However, for reasons related to the manner in which terminal emulators operate, this key sequence will (probably) not work. The alternative sequence, CONTROL-SHIFT-_ will work. Another alternative, though a bit more cumbersome, is CONTROL-x u.

Temporary Files[edit]

Emacs creates two types of files for your benefit, automatically.

Backup Files[edit]

Backup files are created automatically whenever you save a file. This enables you to easily go back to an older version if necessary. The backup file is named the same as your original file but with a tilde (~) as a suffix. If you're certain that you don't need the backup file it may safely be deleted (though it's probably better to simply ignore it).

Auto-Save Files[edit]

Emacs automatically saves your files periodically so in case of an unexpected event (e.g. emacs crashes) your file can still be recovered. The auto-save file is named the same as your original file but with a leading and trailing number sign (#). In the event of a crash, the file may be recovered by opening your original file and then executing ALT-x recover-file. Emacs will notify you if it detects a file in this state. In general, emacs will automatically delete these files when it cleanly exits.

How to Perform Common Tasks[edit]

Emacs for Essays[edit]

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Coming Soon
  • Setting fill column
  • Setting auto fill
  • Don't use carriage-returns within a paragraph
  • Use two carriage-returns between paragraphs
  • Spell check
  • Word count
  • Tagging

Exercises[edit]

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Exercises

After completing W1008:

  •  M1004-10  Complete  Merlin Mission Manager  Mission M1004-10.

Excursions[edit]

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Excursions
  • Using emacs navigation commands (including CONTROL-U), produce an ASCII art image at least forty characters wide and twenty-four characters high. Save your image to a file at the path ~/Experiences/W1004/art.txt.
  • Repeat the above process adding several new images below the first to form a vertical comic strip.
  • References: ASCII art (Wikipedia)


Experience Metadata

Experience ID W1004
Unit Lab basics
Knowledge and skills §10.121
§10.212
Topic areas Emacs
Classroom time 45 minutes
Study time 4 hours240 minutes <br />
Acquired knowledge understanding that documents are preserved in files
understanding the difference between document files and temporary files
Acquired skill starting, stopping, and suspending emacs
creating a new file, opening an existing file, saving modifications to a file
navigating forward and backward through a file by character, word, sentence, and line
navigating to the start and end of the document
searching for text incrementally (forwards and backwards)
marking a region of text and cutting, copying, and pasting text
Additional categories


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