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Learning GNU Emacs, Third Edition 3rd Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0596006488
ISBN-10: 0596006489
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

A Guide to Unix Text Processing

From the Publisher

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. This book tells you how to get started with the GNU Emacs editor. It 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 second edition of Learning GNU Emacs describes all of the new features of GNU Emacs 19.30, including fonts and colors, pull-down menus, scroll bars, enhanced X Window support, and correct bindings for most standard keys. GNUS, a Usenet newsreader, and ange-ftp mode, a transparent interface to the file transfer protocol, are also described. Learning GNU Emacs, second edition, covers: Using Emacs as an Internet Toolkit (to use electronic mail and Usenet news, telnet to other computers, retrieve files using FTP, browse the World Wide Web, and author Web documents) Emacs' rich, comprehensive online help facilities How to edit files with Emacs Using Emacs as a "shell environment" How to take advantage of "built-in" formatting features How to use multiple buffers, Emacs windows, and X Windows Customizing Emacs The Emacs interface to the X Window System, which allows you to use a mouse and pop-up menus Whys and hows of writing macros to circumvent repetitious tasks Emacs as a programming environment The basics of Emacs LISP How to get Emacs Quick-reference card listing all the commands discussed in the book 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 3 edition (December 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596006489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596006488
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Steve Wainstead on July 14, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You will become functionally literate in Emacs with this book. It's large and friendly, unlike Emacs, and you have to dedicate a lot of time to learning this lovable, beastly editor. (Emacs is not so much a text editor as an IDE + calendar + interface to Unix tools rolled into one).
Learning Emacs to its very core is a good education for any programmer... I can't imagine a benefit to any non-programmer (or non-technical person) in this day and age (Emacs dates back to the 1970's, technology-wise). Its extensibility is indeed legendary, but RMAIL is simply not as good as a dozen other mail clients; Gnus cannot compare to Netscape's news reader or rtin; w3 is not as good as Lynx for plain-text Web surfing; buffers are nice but I find 'screen' to be a better tool, and 'vi' faster for just plain text editing.
The advantage is Emacs can do all of these together, with major and minor modes providing the hooks (pun intended) to integrate the work. Emacs is a jack of all trades and master of... a few, at least.
All that said, I found the lack of regular expression search/replace examples mystifying, no discussion at all of registers or the mark ring, and after reading the *whole thing* I still wanted more. Maybe more major modes for the next edition? :-)
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Format: Paperback
LEARNING GNU EMACS is an introduction to the most powerful text editor ever made, a fully-programmable environment that through contributions from thousands has become something of an operating system in itself. This third edition covers all the new enhancements made in version 21.3.

The book begins with an introduction to Emacs as it : a text editor. It gives basic commands for moving around, describes the look of the user interface, teaches how to search and replace, and how to make simple (and not-so-simple) macros. But Emacs isn't just a simple text editor, it also has extensions to do everything from drawing simple pictures to managing your schedule. In the next portion the book describes among other things Dired, the Emacs file manager, the calendar and diary functions, and how to execute commands from within Emacs.

Since Emacs functions as an integrated-development environment for many programming languages, a fairly large portion of the book focus on how Emacs can help the software developer. Concerning markup languages, this new edition covers the excellent nxml mode for XML documents, and in terms of computer languages it describes modes for C, C++, Java, Perl, SQL, and Lisp. Unfortunately, the Python mode is not discussed. An entire chapter is devoted to Emacs' interface to version control systems like CVS.

The book doesn't aim itself at only a beginner's market. It teaches one already proficient in editing to customize Emacs. At the simplest, this means tinkering with one's "~/.emacs" file, but it also includes using the power of Lisp to change all aspects of Emacs.

This book could only be perfect if it were twice as large as it is now, since Emacs has so much in it.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have been a vi user for a long time (6 years) and never thought I needed an alternative. This book has shown me the wonderful world of Emacs and its many modes. For very fast editing of text files and search/replace operations, vi is still the best. But for anything else, Emacs is a real time saver. I work a lot with the Fortran and LaTeX modes (with the AUCTeX package) and they both have saved me countless keystrokes, particularly with LaTeX. I find it convenient to keep this book nearby for reference as Emacs' has far too many commands to keep in one's head. It is *certainly* a very good introductory and reference book to Emacs. I will not write Lisp code in my life and the information given here is sufficient for me. Another user has mentioned that rtin and Lynx are better, but most often, you have install another dozen packages before you can use them (atleast if you *don't* use a Linux machine). Gnus works well enough for my occasional newsreading. I highly recommend this book for the 95% that are not too interested in heavy customization or esoteric uses. I most certainly will buy an extra copy to keep as a reference.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Barry Hawkins on September 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
If a person is thinking of learning <a href="[...]">GNU Emacs</a>, or if they have been using it and are looking to sharpen their skills and broaden their Emacs savvy, it is a fairly safe assumption that the individual is motivated. This person probably knows their way around a command prompt, and it is likely that they are aware that Lisp is more than just a speech impediment. This person needs a book that offers expert advice without wasting time or insulting the intellect of the reader. <em>Learning GNU Emacs, 3rd Edition</em> is that book.

As a programmer, when firing up a monolithic word processor or graphical IDE to edit a simple script or properties file, one cannot help but wonder if these tools aren't overkill much of the time. For a growing number of users, the answer is yes. The tried-and-true text editor is enjoying a renaissance of sorts. One of the most extensible and customizable applications in the text editing category is the venerable GNU Emacs.

The tutorials and documentation for Emacs are abundant, but they often prove time-consuming and ineffective for actually <em>learning</em> Emacs. This book is a refreshing break from the documentation many have come to expect. Imagine you had a consortium of leading experts on Emacs at your disposal to teach you how to use it in a conversational, consultative style. That is what has been bundled into this latest edition of the book.

The extensibility of Emacs has been both a key strength and a criticism of the application. Its user and developer community have created all sorts of additional capabilities for Emacs, ranging from the impressive to the absurd. The authors have done well to judiciously select what to cover in this edition.
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Learning GNU Emacs, Third Edition
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