29 Nov 2014

One of the downsides of using Emacs I have found is that it really starts to grate on you after a while just how much everything else sucks. And none more than does the web, with all its clicky buttons and animated dropdowns and so on and so forth and suchlike.

Seems like every day I find the web ever more excruciating to use. But i’m not quite ready to turn off javascript in my browser completely. And so it was with delight that I discovered firemacs for firefox to ease the pain.

Firemacs is simply a plugin that enables you to use all the most basic emacs keybindings within the context of webpages and tabs in the browser.

With it you can:

  • Scroll up and down using the familiar C-n, C-v, C-p and M-v.
  • Go back and forth through your list of tabs with C-b and C-f.
  • Search and reverse search using C-s and C-r.
  • Go forward and back through your history with F and B.
  • Edit text with…all your favorite keybindings.
  • Go to the first input or button.

And many more! hell, if you don’t like any of the above, firemacs even makes it a cinch to modify.

Two caveats I have found are that pages that define their own keybindings (services such as github, gmail, etc..) will break firemacs by imposing their own keybindings on top of yours. I’ve also found a problem with using a macintosh as the alt or meta key does not work. Fortunately the escape key will function as meta as with emacs, but since I don’t plan to use OS X for much longer this is not a deal-breaker for me.

So if you’re an emacs/firefox user I highly recommend giving firemacs a shot. That is of course unless you are using conkeror, in which case well done to you. If you use a different browser/editor combo I’ve heard that there are other ahem alternatives out there, but seriously why would you want to do that?