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Emacs


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Emacs is a classic programmer's editor with a long history. Emacs is so much more than just a text editor, but it has the reputation of being a little difficult to use at first. For a while, Emacs was the only editor that worked with Tidal, but if you are not feeling confident, use Atom (see the sidebar). Emacs has packages for Tidal and SuperCollider. Learning Emacs can be intimidating at first but it is also a very rewarding experience. Emacs is actually a whole computing environment, and you can do pretty much everything you can imagine with this software (send emails, read books, edit code, explore files on your computer, chat, etc...). The heart of Emacs is customization: there is a fully-fledged programming language (Emacs-Lisp) to do so.

Depending on your OS, you might have to install it in very different ways. Check what is the recommanded distribution for your system. Once installed, be sure to check out one of the most popular configuration frameworks if you want to make things easier:


Linux#

Install Emacs#

Debian / Ubuntu / Mint#

You can install Emacs and its Haskell Mode using apt, the vanilla package manager:

sudo apt-get install emacs24 haskell-mode

Arch / Manjaro#

You can install Emacs using the pacman package manager:

sudo pacman ‚ÄďS emacs

Manual installation#

Edit your .emacs file#

To install the Emacs interface to Tidal, you’ll need to edit a configuration file in your home folder called .emacs. If it doesn’t exist, create it. Then, add the following, replacing \~/projects/tidal with the location of the tidal.el file:

(add-to-list 'load-path "~/projects/tidal")
(require 'haskell-mode)
(require 'tidal)

Download tidal.el#

The tidal.el file can be found here: tidal.el.

Using Spacemacs#

If you are using the Spacemacs custom distribution for Emacs, you should be able to use a layer made for it by rbino. If you are using the develop branch, you just need to add tidalcycles to dotspacemacs-configuration-layers and it should work out of the box.

Reload the configuration with SPC f e R or restart Spacemacs for the changes to take effect.

The Tidal mode will load automatically whenever you open a .tidal file. Press Ctrl/Cmd+Return to evaluate a line. Explore the other shortcuts or map them to your liking.

Using Doom Emacs#

Edit your packages.el file. Enter space f p, and select packages.el. Add the following line: (package! tidal). In your terminal, go to ~/.emacs.d/bin and run ./doom sync. Wait until the update process is done. Relaunch Doom Emacs.

Edit your BootTidal.hs path by typing space f p, and selecting config.el. Anywhere in this file, enter the following line:

(setq tidal-boot-script-path "~/.cabal/share/x86_64-osx-ghc-8.8.4/tidal-1.7.4/BootTidal.hs")
tip

You might want to use a specific BootTidal.hs file. Point to the one you like. I've picked the default BootTidal.hs file installed with Tidal.

You can now open any .tidal file you want. If the highlighting is not showing up, run tidal-mode. Launch Haskell with C-c C-s, and eval regions with C-c C-e.

Using the MELPA Package#

A MELPA package is provided for Tidal Cycles integration within Emacs. You must first make sure you have MELPA installed on your machine (instructions; basically modifying your init.el or .emacs files with the first code snippet and then executing M-x package-refresh-contents in Emacs.

Here some keyring update information if it fails to verify signature after running the last command) then simply run:

M-x package-install

followed by:

tidal

This extension provides a major mode for *.tidal files. Once the package is installed, you can just open a Tidal script and press C-c C-s to start Tidal in Emacs, then C-return to run the statement under your cursor.


MacOS#

Install Emacs#

Install Emacs using one of the distributions available for MacOS and make it appear in your applications folder:

brew install emacs --cocoa
brew linkapps

Configure Emacs#

It is now time to configure Emacs. Do the following:

mkdir ~/tidal
cd ~/tidal
curl -L https://raw.githubusercontent.com/yaxu/Tidal/master/tidal.el > tidal.el

Create a file in your home folder called .emacs (unless it exists already). Open the file in a text editor and insert the following lines:

(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives
'("marmalade" .
"http://marmalade-repo.org/packages/"))
(package-initialize)
(setq load-path (cons "~/tidal/" load-path))
(require 'tidal)
(setq tidal-interpreter "/usr/local/bin/ghci")

The above ensures that Emacs has access to the extensions in the marmalade repository (in particular, Haskell-Mode), that the tidal.el file you downloaded earlier is is loaded, and that Tidal can find the Haskell interpreter.

caution

If you have already installed Haskell using the Haskell Platform installer, make the following change to the above:

(setq tidal-interpreter "/usr/bin/ghci")

Now start Emacs (or if it’s already loaded, restart it to make sure .emacs is read), it should be in your Applications folder (if you start it from the terminal it’ll probably load an old version). Once Emacs has started, press alt-x (i.e. hold down alt while pressing x) and type:

package-refresh-contents

Then do alt-x again and type:

package-install

and then:

haskell-mode

Using Spacemacs#

If you are using the Spacemacs custom distribution for Emacs, you should be able to use a layer made for it by rbino. If you are using the develop branch, you just need to add tidalcycles to dotspacemacs-configuration-layers and it should work out of the box.

Reload the configuration with SPC f e R or restart Spacemacs for the changes to take effect.

The Tidal mode will load automatically whenever you open a .tidal file. Press Ctrl/Cmd+Return to evaluate a line. Explore the other shortcuts or map them to your liking.

Using Doom Emacs#

Edit your packages.el file. Enter space f p, and select packages.el. Add the following line: (package! tidal). In your terminal, go to ~/.emacs.d/bin and run ./doom sync. Wait until the update process is done. Relaunch Doom Emacs.

Edit your BootTidal.hs path by typing space f p, and selecting config.el. Anywhere in this file, enter the following line:

(setq tidal-boot-script-path "~/.cabal/share/x86_64-osx-ghc-8.8.4/tidal-1.7.4/BootTidal.hs")
tip

You might want to use a specific BootTidal.hs file. Point to the one you like. I've picked the default BootTidal.hs file installed with Tidal.

You can now open any .tidal file you want. If the highlighting is not showing up, run tidal-mode. Launch Haskell with C-c C-s, and eval regions with C-c C-e.

Using the MELPA Package#

A MELPA package is provided for Tidal Cycles integration within Emacs. You must first make sure you have MELPA installed on your machine (instructions; basically modifying your init.el or .emacs files with the first code snippet and then executing M-x package-refresh-contents in Emacs.

Here some keyring update information if it fails to verify signature after running the last command) then simply run:

M-x package-install

followed by:

tidal

This extension provides a major mode for *.tidal files. Once the package is installed, you can just open a Tidal script and press C-c C-s to start Tidal in Emacs, then C-return to run the statement under your cursor.

Windows#

Installing Emacs#

Download Emacs for Windows. Extract the .zip file, then simply run Emacs from bin\\runemacs.exe. You will need to find or create the .emacs file located in your home directory. This is the Emacs config file. Your exact location may vary depending on how Emacs is installed/run.

If you run runemacs.exe by double-clicking on it, then your .emacs file will probably be located at C:\\Users\\(username)\\AppData\\Roaming\\. If you put the runemacs.exe folder on your path and run it from a command prompt, then your .emacs file will probably be located at c:\\users\\\(username)\\ Be aware of how you started runemacs.exe, and create the .emacs in the appropriate folder if it does not exist already.

Alternately, you can try to have Emacs create the .emacs file for you automatically by changing a config setting from one of the Emacs menus and saving your configuration.

Installing Haskell Mode#

Haskell-mode needs to be installed in Emacs. The easiest way to do this in Windows is add the Marmalade package manager. There are other ways to install haskell-mode (detailed here but Marmalade is probably easiest. Enable Marmalade by adding this to your .emacs file:

(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives
'("marmalade" . "http://marmalade-repo.org/packages/"))
(package-initialize)

Refresh the package index by typing M-x and then package-refresh-contents.

Install haskell-mode by doing M-x and then package-install, followed by haskell-mode.

caution

The M-x key combination is Alt-x in Windows.

Install Tidal Mode#

In .emacs add the following lines to enable Tidal:

(add-to-list 'load-path "c:/projects/tidal")
(require 'haskell-mode)
(require 'tidal)

Replace c:/projects/tidal with the path to the folder that contains tidal.el. This file can be obtained from the Tidal repository, here. The easiest way to use it is to clone the Tidal repository and modify the .emacs file to use the path where you cloned it:

git clone https://github.com/yaxu/Tidal c:\tidal

If you do the same, your .emacs configuration file should look like this:

(add-to-list 'load-path "c:/tidal")
(require 'haskell-mode)
(require 'tidal)

Using the MELPA Package#

Alternatively, A MELPA package is provided for Tidal Cycles integration within Emacs. Please be sure to read everything in the Windows section without trying this. You must first make sure you have MELPA installed on your machine (instructions; basically modifying your init.el or .emacs files with the first code snippet and then executing M-x package-refresh-contents in Emacs.

Here some keyring update information if it fails to verify signature after running the last command) then simply run:

M-x package-install

followed by:

tidal

This extension provides a major mode for *.tidal files. Once the package is installed, you can just open a Tidal script and press C-c C-s to start Tidal in Emacs, then C-return to run the statement under your cursor.

Test Tidal with Emacs#

You should now have installed the Tidal Mode for Emacs. Open a new file, and give it a random name like helloworld.tidal. Once the file is opened, you still have to start Tidal. Enter Ctrl-C and then Ctrl-S to start. Check if Emacs and Tidal are working correctly by entering the following line and by pressing Ctrl+Enter to evaluate the single-line block:

d1 $ brak $ sound "bd sn/2"
tip

Ctrl+Enter: evaluate a single line.

Ctrl+C Ctrl+E: evaluate multiple lines.

For more shortcuts, look inside the tidal.el file.

caution

Advanced Users: please notice that the location of the BootTidal.hs file is defined in the tidal.el file to be:

ghc-pkg describe $(ghc-pkg latest tidal) | grep data-dir | cut -f2 -d ' '

You might need to override this, e.g. with the following setting (replace the path with the actual location of the BootTidal.hs file).

(setq tidal-boot-script-path "~/.cabal/share/x86_64-linux-ghc-8.6.5/tidal-1.4.8/BootTidal.hs")

You only need to actually change this file if you want to tweak the superdirtTarget, e. g. to use SuperCollider on a remote host.

Last updated on by Alex McLean