in which, were a title to be summarized from the content, it would be altogether too similar to many of the titles used for past articles, possibly to the point of indistinguishability

Anyone who follows my exploits will have noticed I'm a tireless proponent of ELPA, the Emacs Lisp Package Archive. As a maintainer of several Elisp libraries, ELPA makes my life easier by helping me sidestep the boring problems of distribution and installation. You may not know that package.el, the software behind ELPA, has been submitted for inclusion in the next version of Emacs. I've taken up the task of getting it ready.

museum of flight bridge

Including something like package.el into Emacs is a big job, and it's something that can only happen gradually. Emacs comes with a number of applications such as Org Mode and Gnus that are developed externally to Emacs and merged periodically into the main Emacs source tree. If they were to be redone as packages they could still be distributed with Emacs builds but kept out of the source tree. They could also be upgraded and installed/removed independently of Emacs' historically long release cycles.

If you've submitted packages to ELPA before, you know it's a process that could use some streamlining. Currently it's all done by email, and packages must be manually uploaded by a single maintainer before they appear to users. This has long been the biggest shortcoming of ELPA. I've written some additions (package-maint.el) that allow you to automate the maintenance of a package source. Basically you provide it with a list of git URLs, and it will check out each tagged version and create a package from it. Of course, that wouldn't be useful without giving clients the ability to get packages from multiple sources at once, which I also added to package.el.

If you maintain any Emacs packages of your own, please try out my changes to package.el. If you use any of my packages, try upgrading and adding my package source to your list.

(add-to-list 'package-archives
             '("technomancy" . "") t)

That way you'll get access to my updates as soon as they're tagged rather than waiting for them to be manually uploaded, though currently the latest versions of all my packages are in ELPA. Next steps are closer integration with Emacs in order to have packages installable on a system-wide level as well as a per-user level, prerelease version number support, and extraction of some built-in Emacs libraries as packages. Suggestions, bug reports, and patches welcome!

Update: package.el has been integrated into Emacs 24. If you use Emacs 23, please use this version instead.

Update: I've started using Marmalade instead of maintaining my own repository.

Update: Never use any package repository that doesn't have TLS, including Marmalade. In fact, you should probably just install packages using your version control system you're already using for your dotfiles.

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