I’m always on the lookout for new ways to improve myself. Emacs is one of the ways that I do this. Because all of Emacs’ features are extremely accessible, it is easy to quickly build what you need to get things done.

I have written a few of these “mini-applications”, but one is fresh in my mind: svbtle. When svbtle was announced/released, I had mixed feelings about it. However, one of the things that I do really like is the application’s split between published posts and ideas.

In case you don’t remember, everything in svbtle is either a published post, or an idea. I think this split works, because pre-publishing, writing is so… ephemeral. However, once something is out there, it takes on a completely different character.

I feel like draft has a negative connotation. An unpublished draft is basically an undone to-do. Even the word draft implies work that still needs to be done.

However, labeling drafts as ideas changes them. Ideas are positive. The more ideas you have, the better. And, an unpublished idea is just, well, still an idea. I think this cognitive shift encourages the writing process.

So, I made a mental note, and began thinking about how I could implement this in my writing process. Over the last few weeks, I spent 20 or so minutes here and there hacking some code together that lets me think this way. So, for a total of at most two hours, I got most of the benefit that I perceive from svbtle. And, that makes me very happy.

Now, time for the code. It isn’t pretty or well-factored, but it does what I need. I want to show it like this because it works, and is good enough. There’s nothing magic here; its straight-up maneuvering of files, Emacs buffers, and window layouts. It also sits on top of Jekyll, because that I what I started with.

(defvar journal-ideas-directory "~/Journal/joelmccracken.github.com/_posts/ideas")
(defvar journal-ideas-org-directory "~/Journal/joelmccracken.github.com/_posts/ideas/org")
(defvar journal-publish-directory "~/Journal/joelmccracken.github.com/_posts")

(defvar journal-notes-archive-directory "~/Journal/notes")
(defvar journal-site-directory "~/Journal/joelmccracken.github.com")

(defvar journal-idea-magic-date "2099-01-01")

(defvar journal-map (make-sparse-keymap))

(define-key journal-map (kbd "g") 'journal-magit)
(define-key journal-map (kbd "n") 'journal-idea-new)
(define-key journal-map (kbd "o") 'journal-idea-open)
(define-key journal-map (kbd "p") 'journal-idea-publish)

(global-set-key (kbd "C-c j") journal-map)

(defun journal-idea-name-from-filename (filename)
    (string-match (concat "^" journal-idea-magic-date "-\\(.*\\)\\(.markdown\\|.md\\)") filename)
    (match-string 1 filename)))

(defun journal-idea-list ()
  (delete nil
          (mapcar (lambda (filename)
                    (journal-idea-name-from-filename filename))
                  (directory-files journal-ideas-directory))))

(defun journal-todays-date ()
  (format-time-string "%Y-%m-%d"

(defun file-namify-string (str)
  (downcase (replace-regexp-in-string
             " " "-"
             (replace-regexp-in-string  "\\(^[ ]+\\|[ ]+$\\|[^a-z0-9_ ]+\\)" "" str))))

(ert-deftest file-namify-string-tests ()
  (should (equal (file-namify-string "they're here")
  (should (equal (file-namify-string " they're here")
  (should (equal (file-namify-string " they're here ")
  (should (equal (file-namify-string "   they're here ")

  (should (equal (file-namify-string " Rapid Application Prototyping with Emacs  ")
  (should (equal (file-namify-string "Going to the Bathroom part 78")

(defun journal-idea-notes-file (idea-slug)
  (concat journal-ideas-org-directory "/" idea-slug ".org"))

(defun journal-archived-notes-file-for-slug (slug)
  (concat journal-notes-archive-directory "/" slug ".org"))

(defun journal-publish-file-name (slug)
  (concat journal-publish-directory "/" (journal-todays-date) "-" slug ".markdown"))

(defun journal-insert-post-skeleton-if-empty (idea-name)
  (when (= 0 (buffer-size))
    (insert "---\n")
    (insert "layout: post\n")
    (insert (concat "title: '" idea-name "'\n"))
    (insert "---\n")))

(defun journal-window-setup-for-idea (idea-draft-buffer idea-notes-buffer)
  (switch-to-buffer idea-draft-buffer)

  (other-window 1)

  (switch-to-buffer idea-notes-buffer))

(defun journal-idea-draft-filename-from-slug (idea-slug)
  (concat "~/Journal/joelmccracken.github.com/_posts/ideas/"
          "-" idea-slug ".markdown"))

(defun journal-idea-notes-filename-from-slug (idea-slug)
  (concat journal-ideas-org-directory "/" idea-slug ".org"))

(defun journal-find-idea-file (idea-slug file-type)
   (case file-type
     ('draft (journal-idea-draft-filename-from-slug idea-slug))
     ('notes (journal-idea-notes-filename-from-slug idea-slug)))))

(defun journal-idea-new (idea-name)
  (interactive "Midea name: ")
  (let ((file-slug (file-namify-string idea-name))
        draft-buffer notes-buffer)
    (setq draft-buffer (journal-find-idea-file file-slug 'draft))
    ;; current file is draft, so insert skeleton
    (journal-insert-post-skeleton-if-empty idea-name)
    (setq notes-buffer (journal-find-idea-file file-slug 'notes))
    (journal-window-setup-for-idea draft-buffer notes-buffer)))

(defun journal-idea-open ()
  (let ((file-slug (ido-completing-read "Idea: " (journal-idea-list))))
     (journal-find-idea-file file-slug 'draft)
     (journal-find-idea-file file-slug 'notes))))

(defun journal-insert-idea-draft-into-notes (draft-buffer notes-buffer)
    (with-current-buffer  notes-buffer
      (goto-char (point-min))
      (insert "* draft at publish time\n")
      (insert  (with-current-buffer draft-buffer
      (insert "\n"))))

(defun journal-idea-publish ()
  (let* ((orig-name (buffer-file-name))
         (basename (file-name-nondirectory orig-name))
         (idea-slug (journal-idea-name-from-filename basename))
         (new-notes-name (journal-archived-notes-file-for-slug idea-slug))
         (new-file-name (journal-publish-file-name idea-slug)))
    (when (yes-or-no-p (format "really publish file %s as %s?"
      (let ((idea-buffer (current-buffer))
            (notes-buffer (find-file (journal-idea-notes-filename-from-slug idea-slug))))
        (journal-insert-idea-draft-into-notes idea-buffer notes-buffer)
        (with-current-buffer idea-buffer
          (write-file new-file-name)
        (with-current-buffer notes-buffer
          (write-file new-notes-name)
      (delete-file orig-name)
      (delete-file (journal-idea-notes-file idea-slug)))))

(defun journal-magit ()
  (magit-status journal-site-directory))

(provide 'journal)