Emacs: Insert tags in HTML Mode (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing, Science, and Nature.

Wed, 29 Jul 2009

Emacs: Insert tags in HTML Mode

Wouldn't it be nice if Emacs HTML mode had a way to insert HTML tags, so you didn't have to type <b></b> all the time? Sort of like what's described in this page -- except that page describes an HTML mode that clearly isn't the one that's installed on Ubuntu, since none of those bindings actually work?

I've been meaning to figure out a way to do that for ages, and finally got around to it. Turns out Emacs SGML mode (which is really what Ubuntu installs and uses for HTML files) doesn't have functions for specific HTML tags like <b>, but it does have a general tag-inserting function.

Type C-c C-t -- emacs prompts you for the tag, so type b or whatever, and hit return -- and you get the tag, with the cursor correctly positioned for you to type your new bold text.

But that's four keystrokes. What if you want shorter bindings for particular tags, like C-b C-b to insert a bold?

For that, you need to use a lambda and a mode hook. In your .emacs it looks like this:

;; Define keys for inserting tags in HTML mode:
(defun html-hook ()
  (local-set-key "\C-c\C-b" (lambda () (interactive) (sgml-tag "b")))
  )
(setq sgml-mode-hook 'html-hook)

There's apparently also supposed to be a command bound to C-c / that closes the current tag, but my version of sgml-mode doesn't bind anything to that key, and the only likely-looking function name, sgml-maybe-end-tag, doesn't end the current tag. Such is life!

But one more don't-miss feature that I'd missed all along is C-c C-n: type it before a special character like < or & and emacs will insert the appropriate &lt; or &amp; for you. Nice!

(Thanks to bojohan on #emacs for the tips!)

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[ 20:31 Jul 29, 2009    More linux/editors | permalink to this entry | comments ]
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