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Re: [emacs-humanities] Emacs "Projects" management?

From: Joost Kremers
Subject: Re: [emacs-humanities] Emacs "Projects" management?
Date: Wed, 06 Oct 2021 10:39:48 +0200
User-agent: mu4e 1.6.6; emacs 27.2.50

On Tue, Oct 05 2021, Alan Davis wrote:
> These are scattered all over a 250+GB home directory, with a synchronized
> Dropbox.  I connect to my main machine by ssh and upload or download files
> to my laptop.
> In addition, particularly for PDFs, drafts, my various projects overlap
> significantly.

These are remarks that suggest to me that the project management that Emacs
offers in the form of `project.el` (built-in) or `projectile` (3rd-party) won't
suit your needs. Both of those packages basically assume that all
project-related files are in a single directory (or in subdirectories thereof).

The main question here, which I think hasn't really been answered yet, is what
you expect your project management to do. project.el and projectile have a
notion of "current project" and make it easy to limit certain actions to the
files / directories in it; e.g., opening a new file or switching buffers only
offers other files / buffers in the same project, searching and grepping only
take the project's files into account, closing a project kills only
project-related buffers, etc.

If that's the sort of thing you're after, then project.el or projectile may be a
good fit, but using them will most likely require bringing all project-related
files into a single directory.

>From your description, however, it sounds like that is not really an option. If
that is the case, you may be better off using some sort of workspace package.
There is actually a whole bunch of them, if you search Melpa.org for "persp",
"perspective" and "workspace" you'll find a number of options. These packages
can group buffers into workspaces, similar to the virtual desktop feature that's
now common in most modern window managers, and at least some of them (perhaps
all, I don't know) should be able to group into a workspace a set of buffers
that do not all belong to a single directory. They lack the additional
programming-related features of project.el or projectile (grepping, compiling,
testing, etc.) but they may not even be relevant to you, so you wouldn't miss

If, OTOH, you are only interested in keeping a project organised in the sense
that you want to have a single place to keep all your project-related
information, including but not limited to a list of project files, then using an
Org file may be your best option. It will be less automated, (though there may
be org-based packages that could be useful), but more flexible in terms of what
you want to do with it.

Of course it's also possible to combine these tools. With a little
tangling/weaving (search the Org docs for the node "Extracting Source Code") you
may even be able to define you project-related files in an Org file and have
your workspace package of choice pick up the list automatically. (That's just a
thought, I have never done such a thing myself, but it sounds like something
that should be possible.)

In the end, though, it really comes down to this question: what exactly do you
expect from your "project management" software? What should it be able to help
you with?

Joost Kremers
Life has its moments

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