Consultancy - Research Lab - Incubator

based in beautiful Zürich, Switzerland

- 213 words - 2 min read

You might be familiar with the great vidir utility which allows editing of contents of a directory in a text editor. This is a great concept, because editors are great at text manipulation - which in turn yields more efficiency for mass renaming/moving/deletion than typing commands in a shell or using a GUI. vidir is a great tool, there's no argument to be had - it's even completely decoupled from the actual $EDITOR used. If you're using Debian, it's contained in the moretools package (which has other helpful utilities).

However, if you're using Emacs as your editor, there's no need for vidir. In fact, there's some extra work involved to open a shell, change to the directory in which you're already working and then use vidir. Besides, Emacs comes with a built-in mode that already has the same functionality. The well known dired-mode, has a lesser known option to actually edit the dired buffer. This mode can be toggled with M-x dired-toggle-read-only (or C-x C-q). Then you make your edits to the files (rename, move, delete) and commit them using the familiar C-c C-c.

Here's the official documentation on editing dired buffers and here's a short video demonstration of me using writable dired buffers.