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Re: [Emacspeak] Tips and tricks for learning a new codebase?

Chronological Thread 
  • From: Robert Melton <lists AT>
  • To: "T.V Raman" <raman AT>
  • Cc: Emacspeaks <emacspeak AT>, Parham Doustdar <parham90 AT>
  • Subject: Re: [Emacspeak] Tips and tricks for learning a new codebase?
  • Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2024 12:07:04 -0500


Thanks for the tips! Some more comments inline below.

> 1. +1 on learning the org bits;
> 2. See the emacspeak blog article on taking smart notes.

The above post was a great read, and between you and Tim I really think I am
incredibly underusing bookmarks.

> 3. What exactly do you mean by "folding" -- there are multiple ways of
> doing that.
> 4. Good to know you hate the experience, but pointless you saying say
> so without saying why you "hate" it.
> 5. In general, it's not worth hating things --- at least in your tools,
> use what works for you, ignore the rest.

I laughed out loud, fair enough. I was posting here after getting frustrated
with yafolding, outline-mode, origami and a few others. I had search issues
and sometimes with origami even issues reopening folds, which seemed
incredibly odd. I guess the way I cam away on this was "the juice isn't
worth the squeeze".

> 6. See the blog articles I posted over the holidays.

They were great! I actually discovered comint from them and I built my
own little interface to an "Apple Reminders" CLI app.

> 7. Read "How to ask questions the smart way" by ESR --it'll make a
> difference to the responses you generate.

Read it last time you linked it, wasn't lack of knowledge, was a missive
sent off in a state of generalized frustration with the incredibly obtuse
and undocumented codebase I am working on. Not an excuse, also,
the amount of things I randomly tried was far too long a list to call out.
In the end, I think I fell into the trap of "if you don't want to deal with
the problem make a new more tractable problem!" --- Hence dug in
on tools which no matter how good can't save you from poorly written

> 8. Use emacs' xref and eglot integration to advantage

This with the Python LSP that mostly can grok the project is all that has
kept me sane thus far.

> 9. Chase down the author of the code and see if they have a design-doc.
> 10. If they dont, then write one as you understand their code, it'll
> help the project as well as you.

This is a great point, and I have actually touched base with the client and
gotten this work pulled into the scope. Will take a bit to understand the
original authors intent, but not sure I could leave something more valuable
behind for the next person.

> 11. Depending on the language, exercise your understanding by writing tests.
> 12. All of the above are good software engineering practice; emacs is a
> tool that helps you do those well --- or poorly depending on how
> well you know to use your tools.

Absolutely, every time I dig around the Emacspeak codebase and build system
I learn a little more. But still learning all the dials and levers, I have
just scratched
the surface of all the features built into Emacs, and only started recently
doing any
non-trivial customizations.

Robert "robertmeta" Melton
lists AT

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