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Table of Contents

Emacs Lisp layer

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1. Description

This layer gathers all the configuration related to emacs-lisp. This should always be in your dotfile, it is not recommended to uninstall it.

1.1. Features:

  • Auto-completion using company
  • Linting using flycheck integration
  • Linting package file metadata using flycheck-package
  • Repl support via IELM
  • Support for specific lisp navigation styles via emacs-lisp-mode
  • Auto-compile via auto-compile package
  • Debugging via edebug
  • Ert test runner with overseer
  • Nameless package prefix with optional nameless
  • Structurally safe editing using optional evil-cleverparens
  • Visual feedback when evaluation using eval-sexp-fu

2. Install

To use this configuration layer, add it to your ~/.spacemacs. You will need to add emacs-lisp to the existing dotspacemacs-configuration-layers list in this file.

3. Auto-compile

This layer adds the auto-compile package to automatically keep the byte-compiled version of your Emacs lisp files synced with the uncompiled version on every save. If there are any compiler errors in the file, you will see a counter show up in the mode line. You can hover over these numbers to get a description or view the compiler output with the SPC m c l key binding. To disable the feature use this line in your dotspacemacs/user-config function.

(remove-hook 'emacs-lisp-mode-hook 'auto-compile-mode)

You can also exclude the auto-compile package.

4. Working with lisp files (barfage, slurpage & more)

Spacemacs comes with a special lisp-state for working with lisp code that supports slurpage, barfage and more tools you'll likely want when working with lisp.

As this state works the same for all files, the documentation is in global In general, use SPC k to interact with the lisp-state.

5. Debugging Elisp

Here is an interactive quick start to debug Emacs Lisp from an emacs-lisp-mode buffer.

To follow this tutorial open the code of the following source block in an emacs-lisp-mode buffer. One way to do this is to first find this emacs-lisp layer documentation file in Spacemacs using SPC h l emacs-lisp RET. This will open the current file in space-doc-mode. Toggle off space-doc-mode using , T V so that Spacemacs will switch to org-mode. Now you can place the cursor somewhere inside the code block and press , ' to open the code in an interactive emacs-lisp-buffer.

(defun helloworld (name)
  (let ((n (subroutine name)))
    (message (format "Hello world, %s!" name))))

(defun subroutine (s)
  (concat "my dear " s))

(helloworld "Spacemacs")

Steps: Now from within the emacs-lisp-buffer

  1. Evaluate each sexp by putting your point in each of them and press , e f or press , e b to evaluate all code in the buffer at once.
  2. To debug the helloworld function, put your cursor on the defun keyword and

press SPC m d f (or , d f), it will put a breakpoint on the function (we say that we instrumentalise this function) so whenever the Lisp interpreter encounters this function it will start the debugger.

  1. Then go to the closing parenthesis of (helloworld "Spacemacs") and press

, e e to evaluate it, if you are using vim editing style you end up in evilified state otherwise you end up in emacs state and *Debugging* is displayed in the mode line.

  1. Press s to go to next step up to the opening parenthesis of (subroutine name),
  2. Press i to go into the subroutine where you can press s to step in

function or press o to go out of it.

  1. Press a to stop debugging.

5.1. Using the inspector

This layer adds the inspector package to provide an easy way for inspecting data structures. Find more information about its usage here and see key bindings.

6. Nameless

Nameless hides package namespaces in your emacs-lisp code, and replaces it by leading > It can be toggled with SPC m T n.

By default nameless is deactivated, to enable it set the layer variable emacs-lisp-hide-namespace-prefix to t.

NOTE: nameless is known to cause problems when spacemacs is used inside a terminal window, use with caution.

(setq-default dotspacemacs-configuration-layers '(
  (emacs-lisp :variables emacs-lisp-hide-namespace-prefix t)))

6.1. Aliases

This layer defines some global aliases for Spacemacs:

alias namespace
.S dotspacemacs
CL configuration-layer
S spacemacs
SB spacemacs-buffer

You can define additional alias in function dotspacemacs/user-config of your dotfile:

(add-to-list 'nameless-global-aliases '("N" . "nameless"))

7. Structurally safe editing

This layer adds support for evil-cleverparens which allows to safely edit lisp code by keeping the s-expressions balanced.

By default this mode is not activated. You can turn it on locally on the active buffer with SPC m T s (s for safe).

To turn it on automatically for all emacs-lisp buffers call the following function in your dotspacemacs/user-config function:


or to enable it for all supported modes:


When enabled the symbol πŸ†‚ should be displayed in the mode-line.

8. Key bindings

Key binding Description
SPC m g g go to definition of symbol under point
SPC m g G go to definition of symbol under point in other window
SPC m h h describe symbol at point
SPC m c c byte compile the current file
SPC m c l popup compile-log buffer
SPC m e $ or SPC m e l go to end of current line and evaluate
SPC m e b evaluate current buffer
SPC m e C evaluate current defun or setq
SPC m e e evaluate sexp before point
SPC m e f evaluation current function
SPC m e r evaluate current region
~SPC m ​,​~ toggle lisp state
SPC m t b run tests of current buffer
SPC m t q run ert
SPC m d m open macrostep transient-state
SPC m : toggle nameless minor mode

8.1. Additional testing functions with overseer

Function related to test are present under the SPC m t prefix:

Key binding Description
SPC m t a overseer test
SPC m t A test debug
SPC m t t run test
SPC m t b test buffer
SPC m t f test file
SPC m t g test tags
SPC m t p test prompt
SPC m t q test quiet
SPC m t h test help

8.2. Additional evaluation functions

If smartparens is used the following additional key bindings are available:

Key binding Description
SPC m e c evaluate sexp around point
SPC m e s evaluate symbol around point

8.3. Format code

The semantic layer should be installed for these key bindings to become active.

Key binding Description
SPC m = b format current buffer
SPC m = d format current function
SPC m = o format all on one line
SPC m = s format current sexp

8.4. Debugging

To start debugging:

Key binding Description
SPC m d f on a defun symbol toggle on the instrumentalisation of the function
SPC m d F on a defun symbol toggle off the instrumentalisation of the function
SPC m d t insert (debug) to print the stack trace and re-evaluate the function

In edebug-mode (*Debugging* is displayed in the minor modes segment of the mode line)

Key binding Description
s step
i step in
o step out
S next
f forward-sexp
H goto here
I instrument callee
c go
C fast continue
t trace
T fast trace
q quit
Q quit nonstop
a stop
b set breakpoint
u unset breakpoint
B next breakpoint
x set conditional breakpoint
r previous result
e evaluate expression
C-x C-e evaluate last sexp
w where
? help
d backtrace

In edebug-eval-mode

Key binding Description
SPC m g w where
SPC m a delete evaluation item
SPC m k delete evaluation item
SPC m , update evaluation list
SPC m c update evaluation list
SPC m e e evaluate last sexp
SPC m e E evaluate last sexp and print

In debugger-mode (Debugger is displayed in major mode segment of the mode line)

Key binding Description
<tab> forward
S-<tab> backward
RET backtrace help follow
p backtrace backward frame
c continue
R record expression
d step through
e eval expression
J jump
L list functions
b frame
r return value
u frame clear
C-v backtrace toggle locals
q quit

8.5. Refactoring with emr

Key binding Description
SPC m r f e implement function
SPC m r f d find unused definitions
SPC m r e f extract function
SPC m r e v extract variable
SPC m r e l extract to let
SPC m r e c extract constant
SPC m r e a extract autoload
SPC m r i v inline variable
SPC m r i s inline let variable
SPC m r i f inline function
SPC m r i a insert autoload directive
SPC m r d l delete let binding form
SPC m r d d delete unused definition
SPC m e w eval and replace

8.6. Inspector

inspector buffer

Key binding Description
RET inspect object
L navigate to previous object
q quit inspector

backtrace buffer

i inspect object

Author: root

Created: 2022-05-24 Tue 11:51