I think I will start learning Emacs

I think it will finally happen. And all this because I find the youtube content about org-roam to be my new-shiny-thing^TM.

Currently, I am going through DistroTube’s The Church of Emacs playlist. I have also downloaded Protesilaos Stavrou’s Emacs playlist to my local storage, as well.

Next, I have downloaded the emacs package to my debian 12 system. And I played around with Emacs GUI, following DistroTube’s oldest video on him trying out Emacs.

To be fair, I can’t help but be a bit excited about the prospects of learning Emacs (and its elisp language stuff). From what I can see, as a vim/neovim user, is that, Emacs already seems to package most of the stuff (and more!) I add to neovim via plugins. That is good with Emacs, because, with Neovim, I always have the nagging thought at the back of my head. “what if this gazillionth plugin maintainer goes dark, abandons the plugin”, and then I would lose my delicate setup of many inter-playing plugins!

Emacs seems to avoid that problem with having most of the basic stuff built-in. Now, I can still see that I will be using plugins (or are they called packages?) with Emacs, but I do believe that number will be lower than what I have with my Neovim setup.

And all of this is because I want to use (and see) Org-Mode in action. All of this is because Logseq is (even though it is great!) sluggish (electron, duh!) compared to the snappiness of Emacs. All of this is because since Logseq also uses mostly-OrgMode-compatible document syntax, why not go all the way, do the proper thing and learn Emacs?


Alright it has been a week since the start of my Emacs learning journey, and I thought, I might as well keep this thread about a complete emacs newbie’s journey to learning emacs, and then org-mode and then org-roam; why not.

Currently, I have finished reading “Mastering Emacs” by Mickey Petersen. The book is nice with its emphasis on Emacs movements for the beginners. Literally the first half 2/3 of the book is about movements, and it is cool.

Then, I have completed the Emacs tutorial, which you can access from within emacs by C-h t (I guess). It is also good for getting up to speed about the movements in Emacs.

One complaint about emacs that’s frequently resurfaced is how “unintuitive” its movement keys are, compared to Vim. When you first head-dive into Emacs, you can’t help but feel the same. However, that feeling disappears completely as you become comfortable with C-p, C-n, M-a, M-e keys. Also you should absolutely switch the CapsLock key with Control key. That greatly improves the emacs keybindings’ ergonomics.

Once I got accustomed to that, I was breezing and dancing through the text within emacs. I really like how I can move not only from line to line, but also from sentence to sentence, and paragraph to paragraph also. Feels great. Quite smooth.

That’s mostly currently it for now. I have also checked out Doom Emacs and Spacemacs, however, I decided against using those, as they would inevitably prevent me from learning a new paradigm of text editing (which is Emacs’ keybindings), and keep me boxed in my comfort zone (which is VIm’s keybindings). So, even though prime YT’ers like DistroTube and SystemCrafters use evil mode keybindings, I am not. I want to experience and understand the Emacs way of editing text.

Apart from that, I am currently going through Protesilaos Stavrou’s Emacs playlist on YT. And following along his courses that he presents in his videos. I like how quickly these online resources has enabled me to get up to speed with Emacs, and I can’t wait to deep into OrgMode usage first, and then OrgRoam usage.

Lastly, I got really excited about the existence of org-ai package, which integrates ChatGPT AI into one’s own workflow. I can see this opens great potential of automation and improvement in one’s own Emacs workflow. I can’t wait to test it myself.

Today I completed the System Crafters’ Emacs From Scratch and all other videos in their Emacs playlist. I also completed watching and applying the Rainer Koenig’s OrgMode Tutorial playlist on Youtube.

I think I have reached a novice user level with my emacs setting. I am comfortable about the basic stuff with it, I can navigate and edit text. I know the basics of org-mode (I really like Rainer Koenig’s org-agenda workflow).

Today, I installed org-roam to my emacs, and played around with it. Mainly followed System Crafters’ “Build a Second Brain in Emacs” tutorials on Youtube. I like what I see with org-roam. I will read org-roam and relevant sections of org-mode manuals together to get a note-taking and time-/project-management workflow to my liking.

Currently, I am pondering about how I can get org-agenda play nice with org-roam’s documents. Mainly, I wonder if I can get org-agenda to capture TODO items that are scattered around many distinct org-roam documents. OR, I am also considering, using org-agenda and org-roam separately in their own domains: using org-agenda for TODO tracking and my daily/weekly/monthly agenda views. And using org-roam for zettelkasten-style notetaking during the day. I think I would really like to get org-mode TODO items to get refiled (ie, archived) to that day’s org-roam daily document, whenever their state changes from TODO to DONE. Anyone else doing some workflow like this?