Emacs: The Infinite Program or The Ultimate Interview

An Emacs’ configuration is an Emacs Lisp (Elisp) program. Whether you write it by hand or using the Easy Customization GUI it is still a program. Some of us write it once and never touch it for years. I’ve done that and it works well. Some of us make changes daily, even hourly. I’ve done that too and it works well. When non Emacsers hear stories about this never ending program they shudder in horror and I don’t blame them. Configuring a text editor for multiple years does sound horrible! What is really happening here though, are all Emacsers sadists?

No, not really. Instead they are creators, makers, writers, and weavers of that which can be easily represented as plain text. They are programmers, too. Of course, that is the easy one! Unfortunately, that is the one that instantly kills any conversation (in some contexts). What people miss out on though is that its not just programmers who use Emacs. So do composers. So do publishers. So do finite element analysts. So do pen testers. So do screenwriters. So do hardware designers. Every Emacs configuration is an opportunity to learn something about something totally new to you! What comes to mind here is where Emacs configurations might play a role in interviews.

One of the stories going around is that during job interviews you should be able to cite an open source project so your interviewers can review it. Great idea. Does it ever really happen? (I’m looking for your feedback here). My Emacs’ configuration is a labor of love. It contains perfection, neglect, and horror. It is all a trade-off. Every single line means something to me and I’d love to share with anyone interested why I did what I did there. It is fun to share because you always learn something new. Every single time you learn something new when you mutually share.

This is my story why Emacs’s is an infinite program that would reveal more during a job interview than any personality profiling test out there.