The Buffer Kool Aid

I’ve already drank the emacs kool aid, but today something has finally dropped: I now understand what Steve Yegge means in his famous “effective emacs” essay:

There is nothing else quite like the Emacs buffer experience in all of application-dom. Once you realize how consistent and powerful this model is, all other applications become slightly distasteful, because you know their UI is just getting in your way.

this little (and important IMO) realization came to me when I was trying to display the output of a clearcase man command and realized I can issue:
M-x shell-command and feed cleartool man rmview and get a standard emacs buffer in return, which in turn means all my default key bindings and buffer tricks will just work.

This is important. In the same sense that ‘everything is a file’ makes a powerful abstraction that in turn makes the tools that operates on a file used on a wide variety of objects, ‘everything is a buffer’ offers the same powerful abstractions to UIs.
too bad the modern UI interfaces turned away from this metaphor twenty years ago.

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