Insights for Action

Enhancing emacs: vertico and marginalia packages

emacs: vertico and marginalia packages

Book annotations From Pexels Karolina Grabowska

I’ve been using emacs for a long time. OK, I’ve probably been using emacs for over 30 years. However, I’ve never really taken a huge amount of time to learn emacs. I’ve picked up a few packages along the way

I’ve also spent time adjusting a development environment as necessary, which most recently has included compiling from source so that I can look at the tree-sitter parser. But it was really recent attempts to find accessible settings for emacs that lead me to the inspired System Crafters website and [YouTube]( “System Crafters YouTube channel) channel.

I have at times experimented with different completion frameworks in emacs, but never found them easy to use, they got in the way more often than they helped. They may or may not save a few keystrokes, but I am not able to type faster than my brain can parse information. Anyway, I’m delighted to find a new completion framework in vertico which as far as I can see works for me because it’s so well integrated into the basic emacs auto-completion, so it doesn’t add a new and distracting layer on top of your work. From what I understand, the UI I’m seeing also reflects some elegant coding to build it into emacs core. I’m using a fairly vanilla configuration; for example no cycling and no memory (recent completions first). Again, the tradeoff between the convenience where you want to do what you did last time versus looking for something obscure means I’d rather have a little bit more scrolling over the familiar than a brain freeze over wondering why I can’t see anything to do with the really old work.

What impressed me most though was marginalia, the addition I didn’t realise I needed. It adds some meta-data to the auto-completion (e.g., file size, last opened for files) which is surprisingly helpful. Especially when I’m hunting for old files.

There’s way more on the System Crafters website,

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