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I started using spacemacs (without evil) a few months ago and before that I was using a customized emacs. Spacemacs improves the user experience with their package management approach (it kicks much ass). Not only that but the c-c++-mode is almost as good as what I had configured and it took 5 minutes to configure instead many days. The version of which-key, magit and org-mode provided by spacemacs is better than what I used to have and greatly improved my emacs experience. I can't recommend it enough. My spacemacs file on github for anymone who is interested https://github.com/green7ea/SpacemacsConfig/blob/master/spac...

Spacemacs is awesome, I ended up doing the same thing you did -- chucking years of accumulated config in .emacs out the window. I think the one thing that Spacemacs could really benefit is a good guide to using it/emacs, similar to the Atom Flight Manual http://flight-manual.atom.io/

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