Necessity is a Mother

Simplicity is a balance. When it comes to tools, it’s often a balance between factors that cause drag like clutter and analysis paralysis, and the issue that a srewdriver makes a piss poor hammer. Too many tools for a job prevent you from mastering the ones you have and waste your time choosing between them. Not enough tools and you end up wasting time making do.

When discussing programming earlier, I discussed that you should choose a text editor, and stick with it, learn it. I also outlined why I chose the text editors I was using. 

Well, circumstances have changed, and so have my tools.

One of my two go-to editors (TextMate) still has not seen any real progress. Any promises of an updated version fixing the problems I and others experienced still being so much vaporware. Also, I was spending most of my programming time in Xcode, and while Xcode has its faults as a text editor, losing the integration, code completion, etc. just wasn’t worth it. Lastly, I’ve found myself spending a lot more time in not only the Mac terminal, but working with other, linux computers, and needed to finally buckle down and learn an editor that would be available – or installable – almost anywhere I was logging in without having to learn yet another set of tools.

Thus I’m back to learning Emacs.

Why two tools? The friction of working around Xcode’s external editor support when it did exist – it’s not available in the latest update – was just too much trouble, and I still needed something I could use everywhere else. Screwdriver and a hammer.

So yes, there’s a learning curve. Emacs is insanely powerful and was designed in a pre-mouse world for handling text in a number of different contexts. But the basics are the same in the OSX terminal, Cocoa, a linux terminal, Windows, XEmacs under gnome or KDE. Whatever I learn, I learn once, and I can use it anywhere.