What are good tools for Emacs package development?

There as been a lot of discussion in the comments section of this question. I can gracefully accept the fact that it isn't well-formed as it currently stands, but I do want the question to remain on the site as a useful resource for those who wish to extend Emacs, just as the TeX.SX question it mirrors does.

Perhaps the format of the answers needs to be changed; perhaps the question needs to be made more specific (though I don't know what words could be provided that would give more detail); perhaps the scope needs to be broadened; … I'm very open to suggestions :)

I'll note that broadening the question to include development tools for all languages would effectively nullify the question as essentially all packages have direct use in the development cycle. That is a question I would most certainly close as 'Too Broad'.

1 Answer 1


This question cannot be improved. It is intrinsically too broad.

The meager amount of information given in the one answer is best collected on a wiki site. Given that there is a de facto standard Emacs wiki, I don't see any point in attempting to duplicate it on Stack Exchange.

Stack Exchange is a place for specific questions — the bread-and-butter is “how do I do this specific task?”. Of the dozen or so packages mentioned in the answer, each one could stand to be mentioned in an answer to a question of its own — “how do I debug an Emacs Lisp program step-by-step?”, “how can I check whether my docstrings respect conventions”, etc.

  • I simply don't think this is true. The number of upvotes the question has received stand testament to the community's desire for a resource like this on the site. I'm asking for constructive ideas, not hopeless absolutes. Perhaps the question can be converted to an FAQ for emacs (or general) development, with separate questions / answers for each end you describe. Suggestions like that… Nov 4, 2014 at 13:18
  • I see both points: I upvoted the question because I think it's a neat idea, but also think the question is probably too broad for this site. @Gilles provided a useful link to a SE blog post on community wikis that was a helpful read on what they're for. I wonder if the question and answer could be migrated over to the Emacs Wiki, but I suspect it might kill it off.
    – Dan Mod
    Nov 4, 2014 at 13:44
  • 1
    @SeanAllred Having many upvotes on an unanswerable question (and hence a question that is undesirable here) is a classic phenomenon. Up and down votes don't help determine whether a question is answerable, which is why there is a completely separate mechanism for that (closure). The number of upvotes (which isn't even that large, actually) demonstrate interest in the question, but history on Stack Overflow and other sites demonstrates plenty of interest in questions that are off-topic, useless (“favorite programmer cartoon”), etc. My constructive advice is to move this to the Emacs wiki. Nov 4, 2014 at 16:06

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