Many (many) years ago when I was a freshman at RPI, we called the weekly Physics mass lecture “The Magic Show” because the lectures were spectacular demonstrations that illustrated whatever principle we were studying that week. This week I had the same feeling as I watched Magnar Sveen (of Emacs Rocks! fame) deliver a talk at Web Rebels in Oslo. The sound quality was a little substandard and the pace was rapid but like those old physics lectures it was a spectacular demonstration. In this case, a demonstration of the power of Emacs and its extensibility.
Sveen started by saying that unfortunately Emacs doesn’t have a slide show capability and then put one together right before our eyes. Then he spent the rest of the 18 minutes showing off some of the micro-optimizations he’s developed to speed up his editing. One of these, his multicursor enhancement, was startling and has to be seen to be believed.
This is a really great video, sort of like Emacs Rocks! on steroids. You won’t learn how to program these enhancements or even how to use them, just what’s possible with Emacs. Fortunately, all of Sveen’s code is available on GitHub so you can download the code and try it yourself. The multiple cursor stuff is still very young but worth playing with. I’m looking forward to seeing it on Marmalade when it gets a little more mature.
If you’re an Emacs user and especially if you enjoy the Emacs Rocks! videos you should definitely spend 18 minutes on this talk. You won’t be sorry.