Beautifying the Tab Bar
Emacs 27.1 introduced a tab bar and I finally got around to trying it out. I found it particularly useful for switching between a few buffers quickly, particularly because I have muscle memory for the Safari tab keybindings (which I set for Emacs tabs).
I must say, the implementation is really nice. Ultimately customizable (a la everything Emacs). It also has some nice interactions with the mouse (if that’s your jam). You can use drag-and-drop to change tab ordering!
Basic Key Bindings
This was the first thing I setup, especially since I knew exactly what I wanted. These mirror Safari’s tab keybindings.
s- prefix key is the “command ⌘” key on a Mac.
s-w is set to
delete-frame something similar by default.
I personally never want that to happen so I’ve had those functions and keybinding disabled for years now.
I also had
s-} bound to switch between frames (
other-frame), but I usually use the Emacs GUI in full screen mode, so using these for tabs makes more sense.
At least for right now.
Of course, the tab bar comes with a bunch of customizable settings. I’m using:
when clause wrapping these settings ensures my configuration is maximally compatible with all modern Emacs versions.
I figured out these settings through a combination of looking at the
*Customize* menu for Tab Bar and reading the help documentation for each variable.
One setting I really like (but am not using right now), is the ability to have a “Menu” button in the tab bar.
This is achieved by adding
tab-bar-format-menu-bar at the beginning of the
tab-bar-format value list.
Binding the Tab Hint Numbers
I have a pretty wonky keybinding setup, where I create my own minor mode key map and use that by default (as recommended by this stackexchange post).
Here I use
(setq mac-command-modifier 'super).
The tab bar documentation indicates that to enable pressing
s-1 as Emacs sees it) to switch to tab number 1 I would need:
But this didn’t work for me.
Instead, I bound each super-number combination (
tab-bar-select-tab and it works!
As I mentioned above, the tab bar implementation is really nice. This reflects the high standards that the Emacs community and developers have, especially for anything that becomes built in. I was able to do all of this implementation and blogging while flying back from a semi-vacation in Greece (where I spent a lot of time improving my blog, if you didn’t notice). An editor with completely built-in documentation and an interface for configuring / customizing is really, really pleasant. Not needing the internet to do something productive feels increasingly rare.
1 Back when I wrote about package cl being deprecated, I noted that the way I define my theme was outdated.
I finally got around to modernizing it, but never wrote about the process.
I’m not sure a blog post would be useful, since I’m guessing most readers use existing theme packages.
I did start with the
customize-create-theme function, which made the process of porting my old color-theme definition to the modern customize format trivial.
You can view my theme in my dotfiles GitHub repo.
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