Literate Emacs Configuration in org-mode

If you use emacs at all, you'll quickly discover that it's much more than just a text editor. Emacs is a software development platform, too, and as such it's nearly endlessly customizable. One result of this extensibility is that, if you use emacs very much, your customization file (named .emacs.d/init.el) tends to grow and quickly becomes hard to manage.

Enter org-mode. Originally begun as an outlining tool, org-mode has acquired a ton of additional functionality, including the capability for literate programming. In a nutshell, literate programming allows you to combine code and documentation into a single file. With emacs and org-mode, you can combine snippets of code and documentation into a single .org file, and then tangle that file to produce the code which emacs actually runs and documentation (in HTML, LaTeX, or other formats).

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Everything Old Is New Again

I've been doing some retooling of my blog (while I've been on furlough from my day job because of COVID-19). I'm now using cryogen, a Clojure-based static site generator, rather than the Python-based Pelican site generator that previously powered it.

I'll be honest -- the switch was more motivated by my desire to learn Clojure than by any limitation or dislike of Pelican. And, predictably (because, after all, it's me we're talking about), I've spent the past couple of days hacking on the cryogen code to make it work the way I want to. I can now run the command lein new-post in my blog tree to make a new post (and be prompted for some parameters), for example. Like I said, my hacking was about 3% motivated by workflow and 97% by the desire to learn some Clojure.

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Of Emacs and Tools

For those who aren't familiar, Emacs is a text eeditor - and much more. First created in 1976, Emacs is built - and extensible - in the Lisp programming language. And this gives it an enormous amount of power. People have extended Emacs to include e-mail and newsgroup functionality, full-featured IDEs for programming, even an outlining solution that's become a life organizer and document publishing tool.

I've been using Emacs on-and-off for decades, and I've recently been getting org-mode set up for both organizing my life and for some writing projects. I'll be blogging more about that, but that's not what I want to talk about today. Today my thoughts are about the tools we use --- hardware, software, and otherwise --- and about tool wars. a When I was in college (more years ago than I care to admit) Linux was in its infancy. Home computers were just starting to join the Internet, and a lot of us that used Unix-based computers did so through a command--line interface and a dial-up terminal program. Back then, which text editor you used --- Emacs or vi --- was a topic of debate, argument, and sometimes holy war.

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Thoughts on CircuitPython for 2020

Over on the Adafruit blog, they asked "what do you want from CircuitPython in 2020. For those that aren't familiar with it, CircuitPython is a project to allow programming of embedded microcontrollers in Python. It's pretty much wonderful, and I've been using it for almost all of my hardware hacking of late.

So here in no particular order are my thoughts for #CircuitPython2020.

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Hello, and Pardon the Dust

Welcome, and pardon the dust. More to come as soon as I finish migrating from WordPress.

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