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Hydra, a new Emacs package to fall in love with

A few weeks ago a really nice post appeared. It explained how to use set-transient-map. Is is nice for all the same reasons that all keymaps are nice, and additionally, their transience. The example of managing text size is perfect. Everyone has that in their Emacs config. When we define a goal like “we want to adjust the text size”, we are virtually “in the zone” of performing that task. We just want to hit a couple of keys to make the font bigger or smaller and this approach makes that really easy. That idea, and post, quickly blossomed into a package and many new cool features.

That “zone thinking” is how most modes and features work, whether the authors and the users are conscious of this or not. Hydra makes you very conscious of this. Watch how quickly examples evolved into re-recreating most of what someone needed of ViM. Cool!

The user-interface feature of displaying available commands (while in that “Hydra”) in the mode-line really piques my interest about using Hydras to provide a very “user friendly” suite of features for new users. Granted, after you use the same features a lot your quit using visual helpers, but for new users, this could be really interesting.

This package has all of the earmarks of a game-changer. That is my gut feeling; it will be a major facilitator for expressing all sorts of creative approaches for creative expression in Emacs (or ALEC in my case).

For the last few months I’ve had a thought visit me more than a few times: “What would it take to implement ViM, in Emacs, without taking one peek at evil-mode”. That question was just in the collective conscious I believe. Very, very delightful to see it get answered in this delightful new package, Hydra.

Thank you Oleh!

Easily set column width in org tables

Org tables are great. Most of the time I rely on the column width auto-resizing feature. Perhaps you want to do force a smaller width though for example. Just specify the width, in its own empty row inside of angled parentheses. Default justification is right. Prefix the number with a l or c to do left or center.

Here is the page. Thanks Tory!

     |---+------------------------------|               |---+--------|
     |   |                              |               |   | <6>    |
     | 1 | one                          |               | 1 | one    |
     | 2 | two                          |     ----\     | 2 | two    |
     | 3 | This is a long chunk of text |     ----/     | 3 | This=> |
     | 4 | four                         |               | 4 | four   |
     |---+------------------------------|               |---+--------|

org-table-edit-field (C-c `) lets you easily edit the entire field and the org super key (C-c C-c) saves it.

Narrow your view on multiple-cursor marks

The discussion in the comments of this post is great. It reveals a couple of ways to narrow your view, in a few frameworks. In particular it reveals that in multiple-cursors, all it takes is a call to mc-hide-unmatched-lines-mode.

(mc-hide-unmatched-lines-mode &optional ARG)

Minor mode when enabled hides all lines where no cursors (and
also hum/lines-to-expand below and above) To make use of this
mode press “C-‘” while multiple-cursor-mode is active. You can
still edit lines while you are in mc-hide-unmatched-lines
mode. To leave this mode press or “C-g”

Just be sure to exit this mode before closing Emacs as it is a little confusing to return to nothing.

Easily browsing the kill-ring

Ever wish you could just look through everything you’ve killed recently to find out if you killed that piece of text that you think you killed, but you’re not quite sure?

I haven’t, but kind of wish I did, because this package looks interesting.

Wondering if my workflow obviates the need for it, or, I’m just “doing it wrong”.

Elmacro Shows Keyboard Macros or Latest Interactive Commands As Emacs Lisp

elmacro shows keyboard macros or latest interactive commands as emacs lisp.

This package might pique your curiosity. Surely everyone has wondered how to do something like this, especially if you use the macro recorder a lot.

While I don’t have an immediate need for it, I look forward to being able to address it with this package.

Building Web Apps & Services with Entity Framework and Web API

Building Web Apps & Services with Entity Framework and Web API.

If you already know JavaScript, C#, an ORM, and IoC, and all of the other stuff for dealing with, then this is a fast-track to getting on-board with them on the MS platform. Yea, it is fast, but you can get the details elsewhere. This is the place just to see it happen. So many value-adds are referenced in the video. Don’t want to talk it up to much, but it is just very valuable. The major failing here is that the examples are no longer correct though, so you have to do research just to make sense of what is happening and how to implement it.

Windows Azure: The Big Picture

Windows Azure: The Big Picture.

You won’t view anything in this video and say “Oh my goodness I never imagined you could do that with a computer”. What will happen though is that now you will know how Azure lets you do that with a computer, all of their offerings from virtualization to networking to message queues covered. That is great to know. I chose this video specifically because it is the shortest. Further digging is required.

C# Tips and Traps

C# Tips and Traps.

Each session contains 5-10 pieces of information. The topics are varied and unrelated. That is OK. Basically, everything that you learn here, you ought to know. They are things that will, were you to not know these things, would easily identify you as not being a real .NET developer. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t learn anything here that will radically change your contribution. Rather, it is just little things, that, if you don’t know them, you will look really stupid, not dumb, just stupid. You probably won’t even remember them either, that is, until you run into that situation. At that point, you will recall “Hey I saw that video…” and that is where it pays off. Even just stuff like partial classes and functions, I haven’t thought about that for a long time, and hey, thanks for the reminder. Another nice one is seeing how easy it is to implement debugger visualizations with annotations. Knew you could, but didn’t realize it was that easy. So if you have 2-3 hours, then watch it, at 2X.

The Case for PowerShell

The Case for PowerShell.

Brief, terse, compact, too many jokes. Excellent details. Not training, rather informational. Must have scripting/automation experience to appreciate the implications of what is covered. Without that experience, the presentation could be viewed as too light-weight.

IIS for Developers

IIS for Developers.

Brief, terse, compact. Excellent details required to deploy a system to IIS. Not training, rather informational. Must have server/system-deploy experience, and therefore questions, before viewing.