On Spacemacs for Dummies
April 06, 2016
Since recently I’ve been trying to switch to using Spacemacs instead of Vim. As I had literally (in the literal sense) no Emacs experience, it wasn’t such a walk in the park as it’s presented to be. Here I want to share the basic lessons I’ve learnt to get over the initial barriers and start using the editor on a daily basis. Basically it’ll be a (very) short explanation how to accomplish my most common Vim tasks in Spacemacs.
It’s super easy. First you split the window vertically (producing a vertical border through the whole screen) with
SPC w v, or horizontally with
SPC w - (the last character being a horizontal line). Afterwards you can switch between them with
SPC w 1,
SPC w 2, etc. and finally close them with
SPC w c. Actually, closing a window is not final, because you can bring it back with
SPC w u (undo).
Opening different files in your project
What I wanted is an equivalent of CtrlP that I’ve been using in Vim. For this we’re using the projectile library. Simply pressing
SPC p f gives us a fuzzy-search of all the files in the current project. The exact scope of the project is being guessed. For me it usually comes down to the git repository the file I edit is in. You can also use
SPC p r to switch to one of the recently opened files.
If I want to search for all the files containing come string, I use
SPC s a p (search using ag in the project) this gets me a live-updated list of matches.
What I used to do in Vim a lot is select the whole file, and then do
:s/something/something else/. That was my elaborate way of renaming variables. Yeah, I know.
Anyway, I have an easier method now in Spacemacs where I move the cursor anywhere the variable that I want to rename, press
SPC s e to go into iedit state, and then either
A depending on whether I want to add a prefix or sufix. Afterwards I tap the
ESC twice to go back to normal state.
All the rest
All the rest that I use are simple pure Vim commands that just work thanks to the Spacemacs’ evil mode. The above were the only things that I had to learn to be comfortable again in my editing after the switch. Hope it helps you as well!
Written by Wojciech Ogrodowczyk who takes photos, climbs mountains, and runs Brains & Beards to help companies deliver better mobile applications faster.