My new +3 helm of swooping

I’ve been working on a post about game design. I’ve recently (re)learned lots of fun things about game prototyping, the importance of identifying and maintaining a game’s design ‘promise’, and how critical it is to keep the design/implementation/feedback loop tight. In short, it’s a post that’s not about Emacs.

This is not that post.

I’ve recently discovered helm-swoop. Helm-swoop is an Emacs helm extension that displays a list of matches for a search term in a popup helm buffer. You can navigate the list of matches with the cursor keys, and point will jump around in the buffer being searched to the relevant line. You can also continue typing to narrow down the search term further.

I’ve nabbed a gif from helm-swoop’s github page to make it clearer:


I’ve always been quite satisfied with the various incremental searching systems in Emacs; i-search and evil-mode’s vim-style search are excellent, best-in-class systems. But I love the way that helm-swoop shows you all the matches to your search, with some context, without you having to move point. You start typing, look to see if you get the hit you want, change your mind, retype. Once you’ve got something close to what you want you move down the list of hits, keeping your eye on the main buffer, and hit enter when you’re there. It’s very slick.

On top of this, you can live-edit the helm-swoop buffer, in a manner reminiscent of Emacs 24’s occur-edit-mode. Search for ‘color’, C-c C-e to go into edit mode, change the occurrences you care about to ‘colour’, C-c C-s, and the original buffer gets your changes and proper spelling. Fantastically powerful stuff.

i-search and the evil-equivalent still have their place, of course, and I use them regularly, but I’m using helm-swoop more and more.

That’s it! Try out helm-swoop, and I promise my next post will be something a bit less Emacsy.

Somehow I managed to make that sound like a threat…


2 thoughts on “My new +3 helm of swooping

  1. agambrahma

    Came across this (from the future!) …. awesome tip, recently discovered `helm-swoop` and made it my `C-s` default, this is icing on the cake!

    Small typo though (I think?) : saving the post-edit changes seems to be `C-x C-s`, not `C-c C-s`


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