[OS X Emacs] switching buffers - fast

Stefan Vollmar vollmar at nf.mpg.de
Thu Feb 5 07:24:05 EST 2009


one of the few things I am not enthusiastic about in Aquamacs 1.6 is  
the way to change the current buffer in a frame, unfortunately  
something one needs to do quite frequently and thus something that  
deserves optimization. Of these methods

C-x b     (iswitchb-buffer)
C-x-left/right (previous-buffer, next-buffer)
C-M-left/right (cycling the tags of a frame)

the last one is my favourite. However this only works well (I think)  
for the few visible tags (I cannot see the names of the others) and is  
also not as fast I would like it to be: if, say, I am on tab one and  
want to change to tab five, Emacs needs to switch modes and do a lot  
of housekeeping on the way from tab one to tab two, then to tab three,  
etc. although only the effort of changing from tab one to five would  
be needed.

I would suggest a complementary approach which I have first seen with  
MS VisualStudio and which has found its way into QtCreator, a fairly  
new multi-platform and OpenSource IDE from Nokia. Attached is a  
screenshot of what appears if you press the


keys in QtCreator 0.9.2: a centered, native window that remains open  
until you release the Alt-key. Repeatedly pressing Tab while Alt is  
still pressed will select the next file in the list, Shift-Alt the  
previous file. Releasing Alt will change the frame's buffer to the one  
selected in the list. The list of buffers starts with the current  
buffers followed by the previously visited one, and the latter is  
initially selected so a single Alt-Tab will get you back to the  
previously visited file (I know that I could bind previous-buffer to M- 
tab in order to mimick this is in Emacs).

I realize that much of its attraction (for me) is in the speed: the  
native window with the list of buffers appears instantly and I believe  
this could be implemented similarly in Aquamacs - something that would  
give it an edge over other flavours of Emacs in my opinion.

Warm regards,
Dr. Stefan Vollmar, Dipl.-Phys.
Max-Planck-Institut für neurologische Forschung
Gleuelerstr. 50, 50931 Köln, Germany
Tel.: +49-221-4726-213  FAX +49-221-4726-298
Tel.: +49-221-478-5713  Mobile: 0160-93874279
Email: vollmar at nf.mpg.de   http://www.nf.mpg.de
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