`An Introduction to Programming in Emacs Lisp’ (Elisp Intro), is an Elisp tutorial that comes with Emacs. Elisp, is short for Emacs Lisp, which is a dialect of the Lisp programming language. It is mainly used for writing extensions for the GNU Emacs editor and it can also be used as a scripting language in a way like Perl or Python.
After reaching a certain level in using Emacs, it is not enough to simply copy and paste others’ code for Emacs configuration, this is the main reason why I read Elisp Intro. I also wanted to gain some knowledge of a Lisp dialect that would be useful in (my) real world.
1 Solutions to the exercises
I finished all the exercises in `Elisp Intro’ while reading it, only a few of them were a little tricky, while others were quite simple. I’ve organized my solutions and uploaded them to Github for your reference (suggestions/bugs fixes are welcome <firstname.lastname@example.org>):
2 Content of the book
Because Elisp Intro is written for people who are not programmers, its content is a little bit shallow. But overall, it covers quite a few valuable topics:
- Lisp basics
- Buffer related functions
- Regular expressions
- Narrowing and widening
- The implementation of List
For Emacs users like me who do not read manuals often, going through this book will at least complement your skill-set with Emacs. Among these topics, `kill-ring’ and `regular expressions’ especially helped me on improving my editing efficiency.
For Emacs users who do not want to learn Elisp, read “Chapter 16: Your `.emacs’ File” might help you on configuring Emacs.
In addition, “Chapter 11.3 Recursion” will be handy for beginner programmers who want to learn recursion.
- In my opinion, `Elisp Intro’ is too basic. Some useful features such as function advising is not covered. You won’t gain enough skills to write an Emacs extension after reading it.
- The author likes to use complicated (to me) English grammars that did confuse me sometimes.