Exploring my Emacs packages

I've been using Emacs as my primary editor for around 5 years. Over that time I've installed plenty of packages and tweaked numerous settings. There are some packages that I use daily, but others have sat in the background, unused and unloved.

Over the next few weeks I'll be exploring some of those lesser-used packages and learning what they have to offer.

The packages are currently on my list to explore:

Project interaction library. Lots of functionality for moving around projects.
Live web development for Emacs. It can update web pages without reloading them and also features a JavaScript REPL.
Adds auto-complete functionality.
Snippet expansion library.
Major mode for editing HTML. Can handle plenty of template languages.

I'll be updating this list with links to each post.

Groundhog Day Resolutions - October 2016

I skipped a couple of months, but here we are in October.

July's Goals

1. Redesign philnewton.net

It took a while to settle on a look and feel I liked. The design is still not completely finished, but it's a start. The build process was also simplified, which considerably decreased the build time.

2. Build another game

Failed. Kind of.

I did spend some time working on game-related code. The majority was entity system related, but there was some game scripting in there as well. I've been working on both of those for a long time and I'd like to write more about them (as seen in #3).

3. Blog more

I'll say this one is a success. I didn't write as much as I wanted, but I setup a new site to hold some of the more code-oriented things I write.

Other things

As well as my written goals, I worked on a couple of other things:

  • Set up sodaware.sdf.org – This is a tiny site for me to fill with code notes and more in-depth software development articles.
  • Worked on dogecoind-api – A Common Lisp library for interacting with Dogecoin.
  • Worked on cl-dogechain-api – Another common lisp library - this one for working with the dogechain.info api.

I also did some experimenting with Common Lisp web frameworks and ORM libraries. I built a couple of tiny site prototypes, but I'd like to polish them up into something releasable.

Goals for this month

1. Finish some Common Lisp projects

There's a couple of libraries I'm working on that I want to finish and release. If possible, I'd also like to release a web project that uses CL.

2. Build a game

#1GAM hasn't been as motivating as last year, but I'd still like to get at least one or two games built by the end of the year. There are plenty of game jams to enter, and short bursts of activity seem to work better for me.

3. Blog more

This is working well so far. I have plenty of ideas, I just need to make the time to actually write them out.

Groundhog Day Resolutions - July 2016

February's goals went pretty well - I achieved everything I wanted and finally crossed off some items that have been on my list for far too long.

February's Goals

1. Rebuild sodaware.net

Not very exciting, but I finally got around to rebuilding my game site at sodaware.net. The site is all static, using a mix of middleman and Jekyll, and also runs under SSL.

It took a while to get all the various parts working together, but I'm definitely happy with how the site looks and works now. There's still some work to be done (mostly polishing and removing dead content) but it's a good first step that I should have taken years ago.

2. Release a game

My second success was releasing my first game in over two years. And boy, was it terrible! You can read more about it here: "February's #1GAM Entry - Trip into the Future". It wasn't particularly complex to build, and it isn't much fun to play, but it was a good step to getting back into the groove.

3. Blog more

I'm still in the habit of leaving things to the last minute, but it's getting there.

The last few months have been a complete bust. But there's no point dwelling on the past. On to July!

Goals for this month

1. Redesign this site

This is another one of those "nice but not urgent" tasks that I've had in the works for years. Rebuilding the site to Jekyll was probably the hardest part, so the redesign should go smoother than the Sodaware one.

2. Build another game

I have plenty of ideas, it's just a matter of finding the most realistic ones to develop. I have a tendency to over-complicate them which doesn't help when there's only a few weeks to create them.

3. Blog more

A permanent goal that I frequently miss.

Groundhog Day Resolutions 2016

Last year I decided to start the year right by organizing all of my goals and ideas onto a Trello board. It seemed like a productive thing to do at the time.

However, when December rolled around there was still much that hadn't been touched. It wasn't that I didn't want to do things, they just got lost amongst everything else.

The lesson for me here: it's not much use having things written down if you don't look at them.

This year I'm trying something different: Dave Seah's Groundhog Day resolutions. Instead of a large list of resolutions at the start of the year, it's a smaller list made every month.

Here's February's (very short) list:

Release a game for #1GAM 2016

I wrote 4 games for #1GAM back in 2014 and had a great time. 2015 was not so good, but I want to get back on the game development wagon this year.

Finish the rebuild of Sodaware

This is something I've wanted to get done for a while but just kept pushing it back. Sodaware was my first "real" website, but sadly it's been left to gather dust over the last few years.

My original plan was to use Jekyll (which is what powers this site), but I've since decided to go with Middleman. I still like Jekyll, but Middleman felt like a better fit for a none-blog site.

Write one blog post a week

Every year I tell myself I'm going to start writing more. Why should 2016 be any different?

More to come next month (March 3rd).

Creating HTML faster with Emmet

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's all you need to know about Emmet.

Emacs + Emmet = HAPPINESS

Emmet is available for a number of IDE's and editors, including Emacs. If you've ever written any CSS you'll feel right at home with how selectors and identifiers work.