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Emacs Lisp Animations (dantorop.info)
107 points by signa11 8 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments

It's quite pleasing to see this here. As noted on the page, these were notes which accompanied a class. I wanted art students to be able to write code to create something visual, and wanted them to be able to do this in an open source cross-platform environment. Emacs was a perversely appealing means.

Keeping these examples working led to discovering an obscure regression in Emacs (https://debbugs.gnu.org/cgi/bugreport.cgi?bug=22490). I turns out that, excepting animators, very few Elisp programmers need to generate zero newlines.

What was the students' response? Did they have a background in programming?

The students didn't have any coding background. Which, in a way, was good -- they didn't know how absurd this was to start programming with Lisp, use ASCII art as a visual vocabulary, and use Emacs and its REPL as an IDE.

I wanted the students to gain confidence in this weird situation by working off of clear examples. Hence I made these extensive online notes.

The students were generally great at typing in these examples and getting them to run, and some were creative with rearranging them, copying in extra code, and changing variables/strings to produce interesting effects. I didn't see "coding" in the sense of having a vision/plan, finding/inventing an algorithm to realize it, and then refining the result. But I saw "hacking" in the classic sense: gaining facility with an unlikely tool, and working through variations until something intriguing occurred.

Given that it was an art class, I was actually pretty happy with this. This felt in line with what allows for a lot of good art school work: students starting out with a technique and working/reworking until it results in something satisfying or maybe even resonant. I liked how it broke the paradigm of "useful" coding. The Emacs environment became simply something fundamental and even somewhat neutral to work at.

Emacs has had SVG support for a while so you can get more than just ASCII art. See the svg-clock package on ELPA for example. This is what the code looks like: http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/emacs/elpa.git/tree/package...

Or for pixel graphics: https://github.com/gongo/emacs-nes

This is quite wild. I did a few simple animations for my intros at emacsmovies.org. They were mostly manual moving of characters and M-x zone. Nothing more.

The next big thing: emacs demoscene!

« Emacs ... is a great tool for animation ». Emacs lovers never cease to amaze me.

You should think of emacs as less as an editor and more as a lisp machine.

... or an operating system ;)

I like to think of it as a really bad axe. With it I can chop wood, wedge open crates, shave, climb mountains, fight off monsters, pick my teeth, scratch my head, and throw it at anyone I see.

I guess what I'm saying is - it hasn't killed me yet.


After a year of using emacs I wrote a few lines of elisp to put in some hotkeys for functions I use all the time and now I finally feel like a freakin' hacker-wizard, lol. Good times. I ain't never givin' this shit up.

> Once you have a pair of parenthesis, everything starts looking like a great idea

better than Gimp

It merely subsumed it. https://github.com/pft/gimpmode

No need to be better than your competitors when you can simply eat them and steal their powers!

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