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GNU Emacs is the most popular and widespread of the Emacs family of editors. It is also the most powerful and flexible. Unlike all other text editors, GNU Emacs is a complete working environment--you can stay within Emacs all day without leaving. Learning GNU Emacs, 3rd Edition tells readers how to get started with the GNU Emacs editor. It is a thorough guide that will also "grow" with you: as you become more proficient, this book will help you learn how to use Emacs more effectively. It takes you from basic Emacs usage (simple text editing) to moderately complicated customization and programming. The third edition of Learning GNU Emacs describes Emacs 21.3 from the ground up, including new user interface features such as an icon-based toolbar and an interactive interface to Emacs customization. A new chapter details how to install and run Emacs on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux, including tips for using Emacs effectively on those platforms. Learning GNU Emacs, third edition, covers:

  • How to edit files with Emacs

  • Using the operating system shell through Emacs

  • How to use multiple buffers, windows, and frames

  • Customizing Emacs interactively and through startup files

  • Writing macros to circumvent repetitious tasks

  • Emacs as a programming environment for Java, C++, and Perl, among others

  • Using Emacs as an integrated development environment (IDE)

  • Integrating Emacs with CVS, Subversion and other change control systems for projects with multiple developers

  • Writing HTML, XHTML, and XML with Emacs

  • The basics of Emacs Lisp

The book is aimed at new Emacs users, whether or not they are programmers. Also useful for readers switching from other Emacs implementations to GNU Emacs.

Subscriber Reviews

Average Rating: 4 out of 5 rating Based on 5 Ratings

"Good, though outdated" - by mwhipple on 04-MAY-2011
Reviewer Rating: 1 star rating2 star rating3 star rating4 star rating5 star rating
Solid introduction to Emacs that should allow the reader to become comfortable enough with the system to be able to progress to using the information provided within Emacs itself and therefore become relatively self-reliant.

The age of the book suffers in some areas however, covering older versions of Emacs itself and missing some of the newer libraries in areas such as (D)VCS and markup.

I'd think the book could also benefit from a section which covers available extensions.  There are far too many to play favorites, but brief descriptions and recommended guidelines on how to find what you need may be helpful.

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