nvALT and Emacs

In a previous post wiki-searchable-notes I mentioned that I was using nvALT for note taking. nvALT is a very simple way to create and search notes and store them in flat files that can be used by other tools. One use is publishing to a github wiki, today I will discuss another.

I am an Emacs user and often found myself dropping out of Emacs to find a note I needed in nvALT. I went looking for the best way to index and access my nvALT notes inside Emacs, and found the very cool Emacs script called Deft that works with Emacs Markdown Mode to create the equivalent of nvALT inside of Emacs. It can be configured to work with the nvALT repository so they work well together.

A few pointers...

  • If you use markdown in nvALT as I do, follow the instructions to install markdown-mode via git clone.
  • Follow the instructions to install Deft via git clone. It is an active repository, so clone makes keeping up-to-date easy. Also update init.el to require the deft.el script.
  • For markdown and nvALT using the flat file config (see wiki-searchable-notes for flat file config) you need to add a few additional expressions in init.el. Add these four lines as discussed on the deft documentation.
  (setq deft-extension "md")
  (setq deft-directory "~/Development/wikis/Notes.wiki/")
  (setq deft-text-mode 'markdown-mode)
  (setq deft-use-filename-as-title t)
  • Follow the instructions to map a keyboard shortcut to open deft. I use H-d (see my Emacs hyper-key post ) but a simple function key mapping would be.
   (global-set-key [f8] 'deft)
  • Create a symlink from ~/.deft to your nvALT notes directory, this is shown in the nvALT preferences under the notes tab. See example below.
  ln -s ~/Documents/notes/ .deft

When you eval init.el or restart Emacs you should be set. Fire up Deft and the UI will operate just like nvALT, only it works in an Emacs buffer!!

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