Over at the Emacs subreddit, MoreHugs is gnashing his teeth and beating his brow over the fact that the Emacs UI is not pretty enough for some users and thus inhibits uptake. Why, he wonders, can’t Emacs have a nice modern UI like Light-Table or SublimeText 2? Really, this is almost as annoying as the non-Lispers complaining about all those parentheses.
I love Emacs and don’t understand why everyone doesn’t use it but, as I’ve said before, the choice of an editor is a personal matter and no one else’s business. That said, if your reason for not using Emacs is that the UI isn’t pretty enough then as far as I’m concerned you’re not a serious person and we have nothing more to discuss1.
Use Emacs or don’t use it. Use whatever editor makes you happy and productive but for goodness sake, make your choice on something more important than how “pretty” the UI looks. People who do that are the same type of people who would choose a nice looking sports car for working the farm.
Vivek Haldar, who’s thought about these matters in some depth, put it best:
What I don’t understand is: why should you ever care how your editor
looks, unless you’re trying to win a screenshot competition? The
primary factor in looking good should be the choice of a good font at
a comfortable size, and a syntax coloring theme that you like.
I use Emacs because it gives me power—including the power to add missing functionality to make my life easier. I don’t care about tabbed displays, menus, or fancy buttons. And I certainly don’t care about a pretty interface. It’s a text editor for crying out loud.
Update: Added link to original reddit post.
1 Strong words? They’re not nearly as intemperate as what I originally wrote.