Simplifying My Modeline

[James Dyer] : Aug 06, 2023 : 348 words
emacs linux 🏷️ emacs elisp 2023

After watching the latest informative video from Protesilaos Stavrou (Prot):

Emacs: write custom mode line

I decided to try and create my own simple mode line incorporating the features I regularly glance at throughout a day. Having mu4e and magit details on my mode line plus other mysterious characters seems a bit much.

After adapting the examples given in the video I created the following:

(setq-default mode-line-format
     " %o "
     "%* "

(defvar-local my-modeline-buffer-name
     (when (mode-line-window-selected-p)
       (propertize (format " %s " (buffer-name))
         'face '(t :background "#3355bb" :foreground "white" :inherit bold))))
  "Mode line construct to display the buffer name.")

(put 'my-modeline-buffer-name 'risky-local-variable t)

(defvar-local my-modeline-major-mode
       (propertize "λ" 'face 'shadow)
       " "
       (propertize (capitalize (symbol-name major-mode)) 'face 'bold)))
  "Mode line construct to display the major mode.")

(put 'my-modeline-major-mode 'risky-local-variable t)

I left in %e as suggested to show an error message if memory was full.

%o for how far through the buffer I am. I have my scroll bars disabled but always find it useful to see where I am in a file especially when coding or within a large org file (for example when applying some repetitive macros seeing 80% through the buffer is quite motivating!)

%* to indicate if a file has been modified using the asterisk convention which is common in many other programs and has the side-effect of removing all other cryptic characters that I don’t understand. In the future I can always add some back in again but at that point I will (hopefully) understand what I am reintroducing.

Finally it is just the case of adding the buffer name and major mode which comes straight from the examples given in the video.

I especially like the control over the file name colour profile in combination with the use of the mode-line-window-selected-p function (introduced as part of emacs 29) which helps to identify the buffer in focus.

As with all these things I will use it and adapt accordingly and hopefully not feel the need to add everything back in again!, I think I like this simplicity for now.