Wicked Cool Emacs: get in on the action!

Ever since I started on this “Wicked Cool Emacs” project with No Starch Press, I’ve run into all sorts of amazing geeks who have been working on something similar. For example, Ted Roden‘s further along in writing the book than I am. It would be a shame to waste that effort. <laugh>

I would love to work on this book with other people. I think that it would become an even better book than I could write by myself, just as Emacs is better because all these people have worked on it. Besides, I’d love an opportunity to widen my Emacs network!

So here’s the outline I planned:

Preface 15 pages
A Day in the Life 30 pages
Customizing Emacs 20 pages
Working with Files 80 pages
Working with Code 40 pages
Browsing the Web 15 pages
Reading Mail with Gnus 30 pages
Being Big Brother 30 pages
Taking Notes 35 pages
Managing Tasks 35 pages
Managing Your Schedule 20 pages – DRAFTED AND SENT, YAY!
Other weird stuff ?

I’d be totally happy to co-author this book with someone else who can commit time over the next year to help me do it. Take a look at the first chapter I’ve written: Organizing your schedule (OpenOffice.org document). I know you can do better than that. =) Let’s find out how wonderful we can make this book.

If you’re seriously interested in coauthoring this, get in touch with me and we’ll talk to the folks over at NSP.

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  • JM Ibanez

    I’d be interested in at least contributing to the working with code chapter, especially with emacs as a java ide. :-)

  • Sacha,

    Another great chapter for your book would be
    “Publishing an Article”. I am about to write an
    article on how to publish an article using
    org-mode. THis will cover writing an article
    to publish on the web (HTML) as well as print
    (LaTeX). I might even include tips on outlining
    and generating ideas.

    What do you think? I will send you my writing.


  • Charles – I think that would be great. Linux Journal or something like that? Go for it!

    I’ve got a bit of that planned for “Taking Notes” (Allout, Planner, Org, Howm, + publishing for the ones that make sense). I’m focusing on a different chapter (Tasks) this month, but I’m looking forward to seeing what you highlight! =)

  • Kamen


    This is a great project indeed. One thing I use Emacs for a lot on a daily basis
    is as my primary work activity is for translation – there are heaps of tools and
    goodies available for that, but hardly any centralised source of information. So
    I might be of help there.

    Otherwise, thinking about the book project, and being well aware of what’s been
    published out there already, I’d say that one very important dimension of Emacs
    which most publications leave out is, well, life in Emacs, or Emacs as a hub for
    80% of a user’s computer- and life-related activity. Call it “your Emacs
    lifestyle”, if you will. Most books tend to start with the basics (they kinda
    have to), and then veer off into the most relevant programming extensions – but
    few talk about the “lifehacking” functionality of it. Btw, this is something
    which you yourself tend to excell at – since most of what you write is almost
    always derived from a direct, day-to-day use of Emacs to solve real problems.

    Just some thoughts, really.

  • Kamen – Thanks for the encouragement. =)

    I can’t help but talk about life hacking. Emacs has taught me a lot about productivity. That is, Emacs geeks have taught me a lot about productivity, and I want to share that to other people as well. I’ll keep writing about an Emacs way of life, then. =)

  • Nascif

    Hi Sacha,

    Just heard about your blog (trackback from org-mode) and while going over yours notes I found this book. Great idea! I am really looking forward to it.


    • Nascif

      And a suggestion – interfacing Emacs with the rest of the world. From PDAs (saving HTML output generated by Emacs to Palm using Plucker is cool, but I would love to know how to get notes taken in my Palm back into Emacs) to enterprise applications like OutLook, to apps that support plugins like Firefox (“it’s all text” extension works great for that) and Eclipse (when you give up trying to work without macros! :-)

      Thanks again for working on this.

  • Fredrik

    I just stumbled on to your site and got curious about your bookproject. Maybe I can help with some insight but unfortunately the files you link to for your book doesn’t exist anymore…

  • Sacha Chua,

    Are you still working on this book? I found the bits and pieces of it very helpful when I was setting up org-mode and am hoping to be able to apply your know-how to other things I’d like emacs to do. BTW, I have time to write to you because org-mode has helped me get my nose above water at work for the first time in years.

    Thanks for your help.


  • I’m glad to hear that Org’s been working out really well for you!

    Ian Eure’s taken over the book now. =) He’s awesome too!