System Crafters

System Crafters Live! - February 4, 2022

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Using the Customize UI to Build an Emacs Configuration

Mickey Petersen of Mastering Emacs fame wrote a blog post recently titled "Bad Emacs Advice":

https://www.masteringemacs.org/article/bad-emacs-advice

Today we're going to experiment with M-x customize and see if we how much of Emacs we can configure using the UI alone!

We'll start from a blank configuration and build up from there.

We'll also take a look at the resulting configuration file to see what it contains!

Configuration Goals

  • Set theme and font
  • Add hooks to configure modes
  • Tweak some Org Mode settings
  • Set up the tab bar
  • Customizing the mode line
  • Install and set up evil-mode
  • Install and configure community packages like Vertico and Marginalia
  • Test that the configuration can successfully initialize a new Emacs install

What else?

Conclusions

  • Customize system can write out your init.el file to be loaded again on future sessions
  • You can add custom elisp inside of the file
  • You can move the generated customization code into another file by setting the custom-file variable, just make sure to call load on that file!
  • Not sure how to load a package by default so that it gets activated correctly (i.e. Vertico)

The final configuration

init.el:


(setq custom-file (expand-file-name (concat user-emacs-directory "custom.el")))
(load custom-file)

(message "Config is loaded!")

custom.el:


(custom-set-variables
 ;; custom-set-variables was added by Custom.
 ;; If you edit it by hand, you could mess it up, so be careful.
 ;; Your init file should contain only one such instance.
 ;; If there is more than one, they won't work right.
 '(after-save-hook
  '(rmail-after-save-hook cvs-mark-buffer-changed
                  (lambda nil
                    (message "You saved!"))))
 '(custom-enabled-themes '(modus-vivendi))
 '(custom-theme-directory "~/.config/emacs/")
 '(display-time-mode t)
 '(evil-mode t)
 '(marginalia-mode t)
 '(modus-themes-bold-constructs t)
 '(modus-themes-completions 'opinionated)
 '(modus-themes-headings '((1 background)))
 '(org-todo-keywords '((sequence "TODO" "NOWAY" "|" "MAYBE" "DONE")))
 '(package-selected-packages '(embark evil marginalia vertico))
 '(tab-bar-close-button-show 'selected)
 '(tab-bar-format
  '(tab-bar-format-history tab-bar-format-tabs tab-bar-separator tab-bar-format-add-tab tab-bar-format-align-right tab-bar-format-global))
 '(tab-bar-mode t)
 '(tab-width 3)
 '(vertico-count 7)
 '(vertico-cycle t)
 '(vertico-grid-mode nil)
 '(vertico-mode t))
(custom-set-faces
 ;; custom-set-faces was added by Custom.
 ;; If you edit it by hand, you could mess it up, so be careful.
 ;; Your init file should contain only one such instance.
 ;; If there is more than one, they won't work right.
 '(default ((t (:inherit nil :extend nil :stipple nil :box nil :strike-through nil :overline nil :underline nil :slant normal :weight normal :height 200 :width normal :foundry "PfEd" :family "JetBrains Mono"))))
 '(tab-bar ((t (:inherit nil :background "RoyalBlue1"))))
 '(tab-bar-tab ((t (:inherit bold :background "sky blue" :box (:line-width (2 . 2) :color "#0e0e0e"))))))