Ruby Weekly is a weekly newsletter covering the latest Ruby and Rails news.

Ruby and Rails on Emacs Screencast

By Peter Cooper / October 30, 2006


Those of us who primarily develop Rails applications on OS X are mostly familiar with TextMate, a great, powerful and stylish editor that seemingly entices more Rails developers over to the Mac platform every day (judging by the comments on the #rubyonrails IRC channel). However, another option available to all platforms is the GNU Emacs editor, an open source Emacs-based text editor that's been around since the computer dark ages.

Marshall Vandegrift has put together a compelling screencast of his Emacs setup which sports as many, if not more, features as TextMate, and is just as powerful. He has syntax coloring for Ruby and erb, a project view, and built-in links to tools such as svn and diff. He also blogs about Emacs and Ruby here.


  1. Simon Ask Ulsnes says:

    I never realised Emacs was that powerful. It seems it really has some very nice features.

    Too bad the visuals are unbearable, and that Emacs basically goes against every single user interface convention ever (making is unusable to people who weren't brought up with it).

    - Simon

  2. Dr Nic says:

    That's delicious. Really nice.

  3. Luke Redpath says:

    Cool screencast. Doesn't come close to touching TextMate for me though. It did inspire me to write this article though.

    (yes I guess that was a blatant plug).

  4. Peter Cooper says:

    Plugs are good :)

    Bit intrigued by the various comments on the visuals though. I know TextMate and OS X have nicer fonts and more chrome on the windows and menus, but is that what it all boils down to? I'm not criticising, but just wondering if that's what a lot of it comes down to.

  5. Luke Redpath says:

    Naturally thats not the be all and end all but I *do* think its important if thats what you are asking. If Im going to be using it day in day out I want something that is easy to use, intuitive and aesthetically pleasing, whatever its purpose.

  6. Peter Cooper says:

    Cool, just wanted to get a feel for if there was anything deeper :)

  7. Simon Ask Ulsnes says:

    Yeah, I agree with Luke. If TextMate didn't exist, I would probably be using Emacs, because in the end it seems to be the most productive tool, but when I can choose between TextMate and Emacs, and TextMate is so much softer on the eyes, I'm not in doubt.

    But for the hordes of people using Linux or Windows, this is certainly gold.

    - Simon

Other Posts to Enjoy

Twitter Mentions