Getting a cleaner Emacs configuration

07 Jun 2016


use-package is a configuration management package for Emacs. Given that emacs users tend to install a lot of packages as well as add customisations for it, an average init.el can look like a mess of macros and variable assignements. use-package provides a macro that can be used to classify and arrange configurations for a package under one macro This results in a much cleaner configuration.

Usage

A simple declaration looks like this

(use-package helm)

It is possible to add configuration to this like this:

(use-package helm
	:config
	(helm-mode-1))

Need to add keybindings? use-package has you covered:

(use-package helm
	:bind (("M-x" . helm-M-x)))

Want to hide minor modes that you know are always enabled? No problemo

(use-package helm
	:diminish helm-mode)

And this is my favourite one. Need to ensure a package is installed before you start using it?

(use-package helm
	:ensure t)

This is my favourite because this makes your Emacs configuration ready to use on a new machine. Just clone your config to the new machine and startup Emacs. That’s it, you’re done. use-package will make sure the packages are installed.

Of course that also means use-package needs to be installed beforehand. That is pretty easy. All you need to do is add these lines:

(unless (package-installed-p 'use-package)
  (package-refresh-contents)
  (package-install 'use-package))

Using use-package you can create a sane version of your Emacs configuration as well as make it shareable

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