Saturday, August 06 2011
Emacs, el-get

Emacs Startup

Using Emacs we get to manage a larger and larger setup file (either ~/.emacs or ~/.emacs.d/init.el), sometime with lots of dependencies, and some sub-files thanks to the load function or the provide and require mechanism.

Some users are even starting Emacs often enough for the startup time to be a concern. With an emacs-uptime (yes it's a command, you can M-x emacs-uptime) of days to weeks ( 10 days, 17 hours, 45 minutes, 34 seconds as of this writing), it's not something I really care about much.

But I know that some el-get users still do care, and will use el-get-is-lazy and do all their Emacs tweaking as eval-after-load blocks. Trying to have an idea of how much a worst case startup with el-get is, I have added the following piece of elisp at the very end of my startup code:

(defun dim:notify-startup-done ()
  " notify user that Emacs is now ready"
  (el-get-notify
   "Emacs is ready."
   (format "The init sequence took %g seconds."
	   (float-time (time-subtract after-init-time before-init-time)))))

(add-hook 'after-init-hook 'dim:notify-startup-done)

The el-get-notify function will adapt and either use the dbus implementation from Emacs 24, or notify.el from EmacsWiki (just M-x el-get-install it if you need it), or will use its own implementation of an Emacs Growl client (it's about 5 lines long), and baring all of that will use the message function.

The reason I say worst case is that I have a lot of packages to initialize at startup, and that I did absolutely no effort for this initializing to be quick. Still, my Emacs setup is taking about 20 seconds to boot. Pretty good I would say, for a weekly operation.