Collecting my attempts to improve at tech, art, and life

Start Using Emacsclient

Tags: emacs tools

I have been curious about the Emacs Client for a long time. Because Emacs can have a long startup time, it can be made to run in a persistent mode. All buffers are handled by a central process. Your editor interface connects to that central process rather than managing its own buffers. Thinking about the Emacs client is what started me down the path of studying Emacs as a client/server Lisp environment. Anyways, I looked up some blog posts to tell me what to do.

It should not surprise me that a blog post by Avdi Grimm is one of the top hits for Emacs Client - or anything else, really. I am willing to bet that all of his Emacs Reboot posts are worth reading and reviewing. Let’s focus on just the one post for now.

He mentions having a short script ec to simplify invocation of emacsclient.

exec /usr/bin/env emacsclient -c -a "" $*

I was tempted to create an alias, but his solution will work regardless of which shell I happen to be fiddling around with that day.

I’m also inclined to follow his thought of removing the keybinding for save-buffers-kill-terminal and suspend-frame. There have already been a few times where I quit when I meant to save.

;; Adding this to my ~/.emacs.d/init.el
(global-unset-key (kbd "C-x C-c"))
(global-unset-key (kbd "C-x C-z"))

I use elscreen. Since emacsclient keeps everything running, you can switch back to a previously active screen with C-z b. So that makes these the new important commands for me to remember.

Function Keybinding Description
delete-frame C-x 5 0 “Quit” an emacsclient session
elscreen-find-and-goto-by-buffer C-z b <buffer> Switch to screen holding <buffer>
kill-emacs None Shut down Emacs

It would probably be a good idea to set up a kill-emacs-hook or make a custom shutdown function. EmacsWiki offers this suggestion.

Can’t help noticing that the delete-command command learned in a GUI context applies for emacsclient as well. Curious. There are bound to be new issues. Expect a “my bad” post in the future when I find out what those new issues are.

Added to vault 2024-01-15. Updated on 2024-01-26