Friday, December 11, 2009

Emacs vs. Nicer dirs

In the last post I described a nicer version of the shell dirs command that labels each directory with its position, so that you can pushd directly to the one you want.

One problem with it is that emacs shell-mode generally uses dirs to track which directory you're in. And you do want it to track directories for you. Our nicer version of dirs produces output that isn't readable to emacs.

Of course the natural solution is:

(setq shell-dirstack-query "command dirs")

to pick up the shell's builtin dirs. Sadly, you can't just throw that line into your .emacs file, because shell-mode sets shell-dirstack-query every time you start a new shell. It sets it unconditionally and globally, which is a ridiculous design flaw, but that's how it goes. There is no hook that runs after it sets the value, either.

So you're stuck with needing a workaround:
  1. Name your command something other than dirs .
  2. Use a flag on your new dirs to get the nicer behavior.
  3. Write your own emacs function to start a shell:

(defun engisneering-shell ()
(setq shell-dirstack-query "command dirs"))

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