Short Story: el-get allows you to install and manage +elisp+ code for Emacs. It supports lots of differents types of sources and is able to 'install' them, 'update' them and 'remove' them, but more importantly it will 'init' them for you.
That means it will +require+ the 'features' you need, +load+ the necessary files, set the 'Info' paths so that +C-h i+ shows the new documentation you now depend on, and finally call your own +:post-init+ function for you to setup the extension. Or call it a package.
== Status and Version Numbers
Current +el-get+ status is stable, ready for daily use and packed with extra features that make life easier. There are some more things we could do, as always, but they will be about smoothing things further.
=== Latest released version
+el-get+ version 3.1 is available, with a boatload of features, including autoloads support, byte-compiling in an external "clean room" Emacs instance, custom support, lazy initialisation support (defering all init functions to +eval-after-load+), and multi repositories +ELPA+ support.
=== Version numbering
Version String are now inspired by how Emacs itself numbers its versions. First is the major version number, then a dot, then the minor version number. The minor version number is 0 when still developping the next major version. So 3.0 is a developer release while 3.1 will be the next stable release.
Please note that this versioning policy has been picked while backing 1.2~dev, so 1.0 was a "stable" release in fact. Ah, history.
In addition to the version, you can also get the exact git revision by running M-x +el-get-self-checksum+. You should provide this checksum when seeking support or reporting a bug, so that the developers will know exactly which version you are using.
== How to Install it?
Here's the 'lazy installer':
;; So the idea is that you copy/paste this code into your scratch buffer, ;; hit C-j, and you have a working el-get. (url-retrieve "https://raw.github.com/dimitri/el-get/master/el-get-install.el" (lambda (s) (goto-char (point-max)) (eval-print-last-sexp)))
You have to type +C-j+ with the cursor at the end of the last line, but still on the line. 'C-j runs the command eval-print-last-sexp', so it will evaluate the code you're looking at, and that will +git clone el-get+ at the 'right place'.
Note that you can add this elisp code into your emacs init file directly, as the installer code will detect if +el-get+ is already installed. Notice that doing so directly will require internet access to start emacs. You can avoid this with the following snippet instead:
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/el-get/el-get")
(unless (require 'el-get nil t) (url-retrieve "https://raw.github.com/dimitri/el-get/master/el-get-install.el" (lambda (s) (goto-char (point-max)) (eval-print-last-sexp))))
See next section for details about how to setup you emacs so that it's able to benefit from +el-get+ automatically.
== How to install the developer version (master branch)?
The 'lazy installer' uses the default +el-get-install.el+ file which targets the +2.stable+ branch. To install el-get directly on the +master+ branch, summon the +el-get-master-branch+ variable into existence:
;; So the idea is that you copy/paste this code into your scratch buffer, ;; hit C-j, and you have a working developper edition of el-get. (url-retrieve "https://raw.github.com/dimitri/el-get/master/el-get-install.el" (lambda (s) (let (el-get-master-branch) (goto-char (point-max)) (eval-print-last-sexp))))
== Basic usage
Now that +el-get+ is installed, simply use +M-x el-get-install+ and pick whatever package you need. Arrange to have +el-get+ part of your setup, so that at next emacs startup the installed packages are initialized. Here's how to:
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/el-get/el-get")
(unless (require 'el-get nil t) (with-current-buffer (url-retrieve-synchronously "https://raw.github.com/dimitri/el-get/master/el-get-install.el") (goto-char (point-max)) (eval-print-last-sexp)))
That's the basic setup.
== Advanced setup with local recipes
Of course, my emacs setup is managed in a private git repository. Some people on +#emacs+ are using +git submodules+ (or was it straight import) for managing external repositories in there, but all I can say is that I frown on this idea. I want an easy canonical list of packages I depend on to run emacs, and I want this documentation to be usable as-is. Enters el-get!
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/el-get/el-get") (require 'el-get)
;; local sources (setq el-get-sources '((:name magit :after (lambda () (global-set-key (kbd "C-x C-z") 'magit-status)))
(:name asciidoc :type elpa :after (lambda () (autoload 'doc-mode "doc-mode" nil t) (add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.adoc$" . doc-mode)) (add-hook 'doc-mode-hook '(lambda () (turn-on-auto-fill) (require 'asciidoc))))) (:name lisppaste :type elpa) (:name emacs-goodies-el :type apt-get)))
(setq my-packages (append '(cssh el-get switch-window vkill google-maps nxhtml xcscope yasnippet) (mapcar 'el-get-source-name el-get-sources)))
(el-get 'sync my-packages)
So now you have a pretty good documentation of the packages you want installed, where to get them, and how to install them. For the advanced methods (such as elpa or apt-get), you basically just need the package name. When relying on a bare git repository, you need to give some more information, such as the URL to clone and the build steps if any. Then also what features to require and maybe where to find the texinfo documentation of the package, for automatic inclusion into your local Info menu.
The good news is that not only you now have a solid readable description of all that in a central place, but this very description is all (el-get) needs to do its magic. This command will check that each and every package is installed on your system (in el-get-dir) and if that's not the case, it will actually install it. Then, it will init the packages: that means caring about the load-path, the Info-directory-list (and dir texinfo menu building) the loading of the emacs-lisp files, and finally it will require the features.
== How to use it?
You see that +el-get-sources+ example up there? It finishes with a single +(el-get)+ call. That's it. It will 'install' new +sources+ on the list and only 'init' already installed ones.
The status of each package is tracked into +~/.emacs.d/el-get/.status.el+ (by default) and can get the values +required+, +installed+ or +removed+.
=== Sync or async?
Most often you want +el-get-install+ and +el-get-build+ to stay out of the way and be 'asynchronous', so that you can continue using Emacs while your new package is getting ready. But imagine you're starting up Emacs after a +git pull+ on the other computer (after a commute, say), and there's some newer packages for this instance to consider installing.
Now you want a synchronous install, right?
So, by default +(el-get)+ is asynchronous, but you can ask for it to be sync, or to still be asynchronous but to wait until it finished before to give control back:
(el-get 'sync) (el-get 'wait)
You even get a progress report!
See the documentation of the +el-get-sources+ variable for details. Please note that +el-get-sources+ is another source location for recipes, adding to your +el-get-recipe-path+.
Note that you can also give a mix of +packages+ symbols, +inline recipes+ and +source lists+ to +el-get+ as arguments, and completely bypass the +el-get-sources+ variable.
(el-get 'sync 'package 'name 'list-of-packages-names-or-symbol)
It is still recommended to +(setq el-get-sources '(list of packages))+ then use +(el-get 'sync)+, so that commands such as +el-get-update+ know which packages to update.
Some sources are contributed to +el-get+ directly, so that you only have to put in the +el-get-sources+ the name of the package you want to install.
Should you need some local specific setup, you can do that by providing a partial sources missing the +:type+ property: your local properties will get merged into the recipes one.
Also, the variable +el-get-recipe-path+ allows you to maintain local recipes in case you either dislike the default one or are crafting some new one not commited to the main repository yet. But please do consider sending them over!
We do not intend to provide recipes for advanced types such as +apt-get+ and +elpa+ because there's so little to win here, and maintaining a package list would take too much time.
=== Package setup
The package setup can either go into the +:after+ function, or in a file named +init-package.el+ in +el-get-user-package-directory+. Any such named file will get automatically loaded by +el-get+ at +init+ time, if it exists.
=== Build Commands
Avoid using +make install+, which will usually move files into a "system location." In our case, you probably just want your package +foo+ to be all installed into +~/.emacs.d/el-get/foo+, right? So, no +make install+.
=== Byte Compiling
+el-get+ will 'byte compile' the elisp for the package when its source definition includes a +:compile+ property set to the list of files to byte compile (or to a single file), or all the +.el+ files found in the package when there's no +:build+ command.
+el-get+ offers a variety of specific hooks (read the source), and two general purposes hooks facilities: +el-get-post-install-hooks+ and +el-get-post-update-hooks+, called with the package name as argument.
=== Some more commands?
Opens a buffer listing all known packages (those for which you have a recipe). The listing includes the package name, its status (one of "available", "installed", "removed" or "required") and the package description. The description is a free form text and has not been provided for all recipes. Please also note that +el-get-emacswiki-refresh+ will create recipes omitting the description as of now.
Prompt for a package name, with completion, then open an +*Help*+ window with details about the selected package. Those include current status, website, description, installation method, full recipe, and buttons to easily install, update or remove the package.
M-x el-get-install:: + Will prompt for a package name, with completion, then install it. It will only propose packages that are not already +installed+. Any package that you have a recipe for is a candidate. + Please note that when installing a package that is not in your +el-get-sources+ or your +el-get+ call means that it will not be initialized for you automatically at emacs startup. You get a +WARNING+ message when that's the case.
Will prompt for an +installed+ package name, with completion, then open its directory with dired.
Will prompt for an installed package name, with completion, then update it. This will run the +build+ commands and +init+ the package again.
Update only one package, +el-get+ itself.
Will update all packages used in +el-get-sources+. Beware that using this function can lead to hours of settings review: more often than not updating a package requires some adjustments to your setup. Updating all of them at once will require reviewing almost all your setup.
Reload the given package files. Happens automatically at update time too.
Will prompt for an +installed+ package name, with completion, then remove it. Depending on the +type+ of the package, this often means simply deleting the directory where the source package lies. Sometime we have to use external tools instead (+apt-get+, e.g.). No effort is made to unload the features.
This is just a shortcut for +el-get-remove+ followed by +el-get-install+ of the same package. It is primarily useful when a package has changed types, so the normal +el-get-update+ process will not work correctly.
Will prompt for the name of a package, with completion, then +find-file+ its +recipe+ file.
Will prompt for an existing directory where to output all your 'new' recipe files: one file for each entry in +el-get-sources+ that is not just a +symbol+ and that is not found anywhere in +el-get-recipe-path+.
Will prompt for the name of an installed package, with complement, then compute its checksum if the package type supports that feature. The checksum is added to the kill-ring so that you're ready to yank it into your +el-get-sources+ :checksum property if you want to.
Will launch a subprocess that connects to EmacsWiki and fetch from there the list of elisp scripts hosted. Then produce a recipe file per script, and store that in the given directory, which default to +~/.emacs.d/el-get/el-get/recipes/emacswiki/+ if you didn't change +el-get-dir+.
=== Useful functions
el-get-package-types-alist (statuses &rest types)::
Return an alist of package names that are of given types. Only consider packages whose status is `member' of STATUSES, which defaults to installed, required and removed.
ELISP> (el-get-package-types-alist "installed" 'cvs 'emacswiki) ((emacs-w3m . cvs) (rect-mark . emacswiki) (icomplete+ . emacswiki) (php-mode-improved . emacswiki) (rainbow-delimiters . emacswiki) (goto-last-change . emacswiki) (emacs-goodies-el . cvs))
el-get-extra-packages (&rest packages)::
Return installed or required packages that are not in given package list.
ELISP> (el-get-extra-packages dim-packages) ((verbiste "installed") (package "installed"))
== Extending it
Please see the documentation for the +el-get-methods+ and provide a patch!
Adding +bzr+ support for example was only about writing 2 functions, mostly using copy paste. Here's the patch: https://github.com/dimitri/el-get/commit/63e9018102bdeb7b6d9136db231adcd983087217#L0R437
== Upgrade Notes
=== Upgrading to 3.1
A change has been included so that +el-get-sources+ is now only another source for recipes, and +(el-get '...)+ will now only install and initialize known "required" and "installed" packages.
The documentation has been updated to detail the new setup.
If you have packages that have been installed in the past but you no longer want in your setup, here's how to get them out of the way:
M-: (el-get-save-package-status "package-name-here" "removed")
Please review documentation section 'Advanced setup with local recipes'.