Portable Emacs Eshell Aliases

I maintain one emacs config file (.emacs) for all environments and systems whereever I use emacs. From time to time I use eShell but aliases were differing from system to system. The reason was, that they were stored in a separate file (~/.emacs.d/eshell/aliases) which I do not re-distribute.

So, my solution was to maintain eshell aliases inside my .emacs file. Here are my current alias definitions:

;; actual aliases
(+alias 'l      '(ls -laF))
(+alias 'll     '(ls -l))
(+alias 'la     '(ls -a))
(+alias 'lt     '(ls -ltr $*))
(+alias '..     '(cd ..))
(+alias '...    '(cd ../..))
(+alias '....   '(cd ../../..))
(+alias '.....  '(cd ../../../..))
(+alias 'md     '(mkdir -p))
(+alias 'emacs  '(find-file $1))
(+alias 'less   '(find-file-read-only $1))

As you can see, I use a pretty handy function +alias to create them and I use symbols, not strings which looks cleaner. For this to work, I use the following function:

(setq eshell-command-aliases-list ())

(defun +alias (al cmd)
  "handy wrapper function to convert alias symbols to alias
strings to avoid writing 4 quotes per alias. AL is a single-word
symbol naming the alias, CMD is a list symbol describing the
(add-to-list 'eshell-command-aliases-list (list (symbol-name al) (mapconcat 'symbol-name cmd " "))))

So, first the aliases list will be cleared, just in case there's some aliases file left in the filesystem (which I ignore from now on). The function +alias then converts the given symbols to strings and adds them to the alias list.

I could of course use strings directly but that's too much quotes to type and looks confusing. Just for completeness, here's how the aliases list looks like after the above conversion:

(("less" "find-file-read-only-other-window $1")
 ("emacs" "find-file-other-window $1")
 ("md" "mkdir -p")
 ("....." "cd ../../../..")
 ("...." "cd ../../..")
 ("..." "cd ../..")
 (".." "cd ..")
 ("lt" "ls -ltr $*")
 ("la" "ls -a")
 ("ll" "ls -l")
 ("l" "ls -laF"))

13.03.2017 19:32 CC0 emacs Emacs

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