The Emacs Social Science Starter Kit is a drop-in collection of packages and settings for Emacs 24 aimed at people like me: that is, people doing social science data analysis and writing, using some combination of tools like R, git, LaTeX, Pandoc, perhaps some other programming languages (e.g., Python, or Perl), and plain-text formats like Markdown, and Org-Mode. More information on the kit is available here. Some of its highlights are listed here.
I recently made some updates to the Emacs Social Science Starter Kit. I maintain the SSSK for my own convenience, but other people have found it useful as well. By now there are a lot of little bits and pieces in the kit, so I thought it might be useful to do a listicle highlighting some of the conveniences it offers. As a reminder, the motivation behind the kit was to allow researchers, faculty, and grad students working in the social sciences to get started with Emacs.
I’ve made some updates to the Emacs Starter Kit for the Social Sciences. In addition to various bits of cleanup, bug fixes, and package updates, I eliminated the need for any git submodules. This simplifies the installation, and allows for people to install the starter kit from a zipfile instead of via git (although git is still recommended). Because major components like Auctex and ESS are now available as packages, less has to be contained in the kit itself.
Prompted by a passing thought about TextMate, I thought I’d make a comprehensive, accurate, unbiased, and irrefutable survey of text editors by way of comparison to locations in The Lord of the Rings.
TextMate: Minas Tirith A once-great but now decaying city. Only the King has the power to renew it, but he is a long absent, indeed half-legendary figure—though there are persistent rumors that he is alive still in some distant land.
I’ve written a few times before about how to choose the software you work with, and what you should and should not care about when making those choices. I maintain a page with various resources related to this, if you’re interested, most notably the Emacs Starter Kit for the Social Sciences. A revised version of an article of mine on this topic called “Choosing Your Workflow Applications”, which I’ve had online for a while, has now been published in The Political Methodologist, the newsletter of the Society for Political Methodology.
Note (September 2013): Recent changes to Org-Mode since version 8 mean that the instructions here are no longer valid. My Emacs Starter Kit for the Social Sciences contains a more up-to-date export setup consistent with Org-Mode 8 and higher. The reason the instructions below were complicated was partly because of difficulties exporting with XeLaTeX but partly because I wanted—for perhaps irrational reasons—to preserve the ability to have different export pipelines for XeLaTeX and pdfLaTeX.