Cake. Can have. Eat too.

A while ago, a friend of mine shared this informative article about why Atom (a new text editor by the Github team, it seems) cannot replace Vim. The author talks about the very useful composability property of Vi(m) and ends his article with this (do read the complete article though, especially if you are quite new to Vi(m)):
A new, shiny, modern editor could one-up Vim by fixing some (or hopefully all) of these issues. But before an editor can replace Vim, it needs to learn everything that 1976 has to teach — not just the lesson of Emacs, but also the lesson of vi.
Well, it might not be very "shiny", and "modern" is, I guess, very subjective, but there is already an editor that both have awesome extensibility and, optionally, strict modal behaviour with a "command" mode.

Which editor it is? Emacs, of course. Just fire up viper-mode, or pick one of the more modern Vi(m) emulation packages like Evil (here is a list of different emulation modes for Emacs) and you can now have your cake and eat it too.

Mmm. Cake.

Keyboard activated favorites menu using "simple menu items"

Some time back I wanted to create a keyboard activated menu with one-key access to some favorite commands that I did not want to give one-key bindings in the global keymap and for which I do not want to type the names on the M-x prompt. I was going to write my own command to read the key for the favorite command. However, it turns out Emacs already had more or less what I wanted in the form of simple menu items.

I chose to use the "apps" key (on keyboards with two Windows keys, it's the key to the right of the right Windows key, with a little menu symbol on it) since I did not use that for anything in Emacs.

Here is how to try this little hack out (FYI the key/command combinations below are just examples and not the actual keys and commands I wanted to use):

(defvar my-favorties-map (make-sparse-keymap "Favorites"))

(define-key global-map (kbd "<apps>") my-favorties-map)

(define-key my-favorties-map (kbd "f") 
  (cons "Find file"

(define-key my-favorties-map (kbd "s")
  (cons "Save current buffer"

(define-key my-favorties-map (kbd "i")
  (cons "Kill buffer"

After evaluating the above, when typing the "apps" key, the following "menu" will be displayed in the echo minibuffer:

 Favorites: i = Kill buffer, Save current buffer, Find file

It does what I want, although it is a little bit peculiar in how it decides for what bindings it will show X = Command for, and not. Seems that if the name of the menu item/command begins with the same letter/key that is bound to the command, it will not show it.

So, there it is, an instant little text based menu for executing favorite commands.