Hi, I’m lthms.

I don’t like syntax highlighting, but I like types and functional programming languages. He/him.

Interested in starting a discussion? Don’t hesitate to shoot me an email.

Monthly Retrospective: August 2022

Without further ado, let’s take a look at what was achieved for the last thirty days or so.

Emacs §

I have started tweaking and improving my Emacs configuration again. After having used Emacs for seven years now, I am nowhere close to consider my configuration as a done project. I really envy developers who are using their editor with little to no customization.

Theme Selection Menu §

The change I am the most excited about is that I have finally reduced the boilerplate in need to write to use a new theme. I am very indecisive when it comes to theming. I like to have my choices, and I get tired of any colorscheme pretty quickly. As a consequence, I introduced a customizable variable to let me select a theme dynamically, and have this choice persist across Emacs session.

I have a Hydra menu that allows me to select which theme I want to use for the time being. It looks like this.

Figure 1: A Hydra menu for selecting a theme.

But adding new entries to this menu was very cumbersome, and mostly boilerplate that I know a good macro could abstract away. And I can finally report that I was right all along. I have my macros now, and they allow me to have the Hydra menu above generated with these simple lines of code.

(use-theme ancientless "a" :straight nil :load-path "~/.emacs.d/lisp")
(use-theme darkless "d" :straight nil :load-path "~/.emacs.d/lisp")
(use-theme brightless "b" :straight nil :load-path "~/.emacs.d/lisp")
(use-theme monotropic "m")
(use-theme monokai "M")
(use-theme nothing "n")
(use-theme eink "e")
(use-theme dracula "D")
(use-theme chocolate "c")
(use-themes-from tao-theme
                 '(("tl" . tao-yang)
                   ("td" . tao-yin)))

Eldoc and Flycheck Popups §

I have been experimenting with several combinations of packages to have Eldoc and Flycheck using pop-up-like mechanisms to report things to me, instead of the echo area.

The winning setup for now is the one that uses the quick-peek package. That is, flycheck-inline (customized to use quick-peek, as suggested in their README), and eldoc-overlay. This works well enough, so the pop-ups of eldoc are maybe a bit too distracting.

Figure 2: flycheck-inline in action with an OCaml compilation error.
Figure 3: eldoc-overlay in action, displaying an OCaml type.

In my quest for pop-ups, I ran into several issues with the packages I tried out. For instance, eldoc-box was very nice, but also very slow for some reason. It turns out there were an issue about that slowness, wherein the culprit was identified. This allowed me to submit a pull request that got merged rather quickly. Similarly, after a packages update, I discovered flycheck-ocaml was no longer working, and submit a patch to fix the issue.

This Website §

I have not been investing a lot of time in this website for the past six years or so. This month, things change a bit on that side too.

New Contents §

First, I have published a (short) article on higher-order polymorphism in OCaml. The goal was for me to log somewhere the solution for an odd problem I was confronted to at $WORK, but the resulting article was not doing a great job as conveying this. In particular, two comments on Reddit motivated me to rework it, and I am glad I did. I hope you enjoy the retake.

Once this was out of the way, I decided that generating this website was taking way too much time for no good enough reason. The culprit was cleopatra, a toolchain I had developed in 2020 to integrate the build process of this website as additional contents that I thought might interest people. The sad things were: cleopatra was adding a significant overhead, and I never take the time to actually document them properly.

Under the Hood §

Overall, the cost of using cleopatra was not worth the burden, and so I got ride of it. Fortunately, it was not very difficult, since the job of cleopatra was to extracting the generation processes from org files; I just add to implement a small makefile to make use of these files, without having to rely on cleopatra anymore.

This was something I was pondering to do for a long time, and as often in these circumstances, this gave me the extra motivation I needed to tackle other ideas I had in mind for this website. This is why now, rather than starting one Emacs process per Org file I have to process, my build toolchain starts one Emacs server, and later uses emacsclient.

Now, most of the build time is spent by soupault. I guess I will have to spend some time on the Lua plugins I have developed for it at some point.

A New Mailing List §

Finally, I have created a public mailing list that is available if you want to start a discussion on one of my article. Don’t hesitate to use it, or to register to it!