4 releases

0.1.3 Aug 27, 2022
0.1.2 Jun 7, 2022
0.1.1 Jun 7, 2022
0.1.0 Jun 7, 2022

#971 in Command line utilities

24 downloads per month

MPL-2.0 license

830 lines


mph is a rust cli tool for interacting with emacs in daemon mode. it takes care of starting emacs in a cross-platform manner, with some conveniences over emacsclient.

mph is a work in progress - it's pretty bare and disorganized now, but will grow organically towards doing other things over time.


you can install mph with cargo:

cargo install mph


$ mph --help
mph 0.1.0
a rusty swiss army knife for emacs



    -h, --help
            Print help information

    -V, --version
            Print version information


            Print this message or the help of the given subcommand(s)




start, stop and restart


in linux, these commands call systemctl, under the assumption that emacs.service is configured as a user unit. it should run the daemon as a matter of course.


in macos, these commands will use osascript and open to launch Emacs.app, as installed by the homebrew tap. your emacs config will need to start the daemon!


in windows, these commands use windows powershell to launch runemacs.exe as installed by winget. your emacs config will need to start the daemon!

opening a file

if you try to open a file with mph, it will:

  1. use emacsclient to check if the daemon is running, and call the start hook if necessary
  2. run an emacs lisp snippet to check if a desktop frame is already open
  3. only create a new frame if one doesn't already exist


this project has a a justfile that contains basic recipes which wrap both emacs and cargo related build steps.


this project uses org-babel for an interactive emacs lisp development environment. these snippets are then tangled for import by rust.

this task attempts to call doom emacs's org-tangle{.verbatim} script to automatically tangle ./elisp.org. it's dependent on emacs running, so the task is configured to make a best effort and exit with a warning on a failure.

to manually tangle the file, open it in emacs and mash C-v C-t.


this project's README is written in org, but crates.io only supports markdown. the just readme command will generate a markdown README using pandoc. because this is less finnicky, it does not gracefully fail like elisp tangling does.

build, test, check, run and publish

these commands wrap their cargo equivalents, but attempt to tangle the lisp code and generate the markdown README first.

note that the tests don't effectively cover the command line's current functionality - you may run them, but to be sure the application works you need to try it interactively.


mph uses the mozilla public license 2.0. for more information, read ./LICENSE. note that it is not a part of emacs and is a third party tool.

appendix 1: lisp interpreter

mph's most interesting functionality depends on executing emacs lisp snippets with emacsclient and interpreting the results. current calls only need to check for a truthy value. however, I would like to parse more sophisticated results from emacs.

the text returned by emacsclient is intended to be parseable as lisp. it's not necessarily intended to be run - many objects aren't serializable - but it may certainly be parsed and interacted with as a structured result.

to that end, I burned through the bodil tutorial on parser combinators, translated that new knowledge to nom, and started writing a proper parser.

this code lives in ./src/elisp.rs and it's part done. there are tests for the parser, with about half of them succeeding.

until I implement string, symbol and cons cell parsing it won't be particularly useful and is inert. however, if I finish the parser, I plan to use it for handling results from emacsclient for other emacs lisp calls in the future.

appendix 2: remote server

I've been toying with the idea for a very long time of running emacs on a remote server, using ssh to access it, and using scheduled jobs and file watching to, among other things, generate and publish org content, such as a wiki.

   |-[docker container]--------------------------------|
  _|______           __________________                |
->| sshd |---------->| emacsclient -t |                |
  |______|<-,        |________________|                |
   |         '-------,       | (unix socket)           |
   |       (child     |      |                         |
  _|_______ processes |  ____v___________              |
<-| caddy |<------------| emacs --daemon |<-,          |
  |_______|             |________________|  |          |
   |   ^ (child process)>     |             |          |
   |   |             _________v________     | <(edits) |
   |   | <(serves)  | emacs --batch \ |     |          |
   |   |            | publish.el      |     |          |
   |   |            |_________________|     |          |
   |   | (publishes)> |         ^ <(loads)  |          |
   |  _|______________v____  ___|___________v__        |
   |__| published volume  |__| content volume  |_______|
      |___________________|  |_________________|

this project is a bit out of scope for mph itself and it's at least three yak shaves away, but if it does happen it's likely to use mph as a dependency.


~93K SLoC