Friday, February 4, 2011

Emacs for Windows

For software development, my preferred text editor is Emacs.  On windows, I use a port of Emacs that you can find here in the GNU Emacs for Windows FAQ.

Here are the steps for a basic set up of Emacs on Windows with syntax highlighting.

1. Install emacs, you can download the windows binary here.  There is a README with more information on the different version you can download. For detailed installation instructions you can read this chapter of the FAQ. I just unzip the to a local folder and set up a windows shortcut to runemacs.exe that will start the program in my work directory.  I also make an environment variable named HOME and set it to the path where I will keep my .emacs file. 

2. Download color-theme and put the unzipped files in your site-lisp directory.  Follow the examples on this emacs wiki page to set your default color theme for syntax highlighting.  I like the 'billw' theme.  After you get this working, you can byte compile the color-theme.el file if it seems a little slow loading.

Now that you have Emacs installed, you will probably want to configure some Unix utilities for Windows as well.  Here is how I set up Git for windows with an Emacs-like editor for commit messages

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