FirstLoveLife / emacs-application-framework

Emacs application framework

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What is Emacs Application Framework (EAF)?

EAF extends GNU Emacs to an entire universe of powerful GUI applications.

EAF Application Overview

EAF is extensible, you can develop any PyQt application and integrate it into Emacs.

Browser Markdown Previewer
Image Viewer Video Player
PDF Viewer Camera
File Sender File Receiver
Air Share Org Previewer
Terminal Emulator RSS Reader

Install EAF

  1. Clone this repository, add to load-path, and add the following to .emacs
(require 'eaf)

If you use use-package, a sample configuration has been provided.

(use-package eaf
  :load-path "~/.emacs.d/site-lisp/emacs-application-framework"
  (eaf-find-alternate-file-in-dired t)
  (eaf-bind-key scroll_up "RET" eaf-pdf-viewer-keybinding)
  (eaf-bind-key scroll_down_page "DEL" eaf-pdf-viewer-keybinding)
  (eaf-bind-key scroll_up "C-n" eaf-pdf-viewer-keybinding)
  (eaf-bind-key scroll_down "C-p" eaf-pdf-viewer-keybinding)
  (eaf-bind-key take_photo "p" eaf-camera-keybinding))
  1. Make sure to have python3 installed, and use pip3 to install EAF dependencies:
sudo pip3 install dbus-python python-xlib pyqt5 pyqtwebengine pymupdf grip qrcode feedparser
  1. Install and config wetty:
# Install wetty
sudo yarn global add wetty

# Make wetty login with public key
cp ~/.ssh/ ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

# You need add below in .bashrc if you are Chinese
echo 'export LANG=zh_CN.UTF-8' >> ~/.bashrc

Package info:

Package Package Repo Classification Package Description
dbus-python pip3 Core DBus IPC to communicate python with elisp
python-xlib pip3 Core Stick app window into Emacs frame
pyqt5 pip3 Core GUI library required for applications
pyqtwebengine pip3 Core Browser: QtWebEngine for browser application
pymupdf pip3 Application PDF Viewer: Rendering engine
grip pip3 Application Markdown Previewer: Markdown render server
qrcode pip3 Application File Transfer: Render QR code pointing local files
feedparser pip3 Application RSS Reader: feed parser
wetty yarn Application Terminal: Share SSH over Web

Launch EAF Applications

Application Name Launch
Browser M-x eaf-open-browser Search or Goto URL
M-x eaf-open-browser-with-history Search or Goto URL or Goto History
HTML Email Renderer M-x eaf-open-mail-as-html in gnus, mu4e, notmuch HTMl Mail
PDF Viewer M-x eaf-open PDF File
Video Player M-x eaf-open Video File
Image Viewer M-x eaf-open Image File
Markdown Previewer M-x eaf-open Markdown File
Org Previewer M-x eaf-open Org File
Camera M-x eaf-open-camera
Terminal M-x eaf-open-terminal
File Sender M-x eaf-file-sender-qrcode or eaf-file-sender-qrcode-in-dired
File Receiver M-x eaf-file-receiver-qrcode
Airshare M-x eaf-open-airshare
RSS Reader M-x eaf-open-rss-reader
Demo M-x eaf-open-demo to verify basic functionality
  • To open the file under the cursor in dired using EAF, use eaf-open-this-from-dired instead.
EAF use DBus' session bus, it must run in general user.
Please don't run EAF with root user, a root user can only access DBus's system bus.


Please check the Wiki for documentations on Keybinding, Customization, EAF Structure and TODOLIST.

You can also find helpful config tips to make EAF work with Docker, Helm.

FAQ and Support

How does EAF make this possible?

EAF implements three major functionalities:

  1. Integrate PyQt program window into Emacs frame using Xlib Reparent technology.
  2. Listen to EAF buffer's keyboard event flow and control the keyboard input of PyQt program via DBus IPC.
  3. Create a window compositer to make a PyQt program window adapt Emacs's Window/Buffer design.

How about EXWM? What makes EAF special?

  1. EAF gives you control over your program, while satisfying Emacs window design model. EXWM is only a tiling WM, that combines different applications together in an Emacs-like fashion. However, EXWM is unable to split the same application into two different windows while displaying different same application at the same time. For example, EAF is able to display same PDF on two different windows.
  2. EAF essentially provides Emacs a secondary scripting language (this topic had been brought up again in EmacsConf2019 and reddit). Emacs Lisp doesn't render graphics very well, especially it doesn't play nicely with the browser. This is (an example of) where PyQt5 can come in handy.
  3. With DBus IPC, EAF can use Python to control Emacs Lisp, conversely also true that Emacs Lisp can control Qt rendering and Python code.
  4. EXWM, as a Windows Manager, does its job very well. Therefore, it doesn't have control and doesn't care at all how other program functions. For example, EXWM cannot control keyboard events of other programs. On the other hand, you can configure them in EAF either using existing features (see above) or write code to contribute to this repository.
  5. From a higher point of view, EAF is using Emacs' design principles to extend GUI programs. You have the ability to control good GUI programs using Emacs keybindings. To achieve the ultimate goal: live in Emacs ;)

EAF is (currently) Linux only. Why?

There are mainly three obstacles:

  1. None of EAF's core developers use MacOS or Windows
  2. EAF uses X11 Reparent to stick Qt5 window to emacs frame, struggling to make X11 to work on MacOS.
  3. Strugglling to make dbus/python-dbus work on MacOS High Sierra
  4. Strugglling to make Qt5 QGraphicsView/QGraphicsScene work on MacOS, specifically QGraphicsVideoItem cannot work.
  5. If you've figure them out, PRs are always welcome

How about Wayland?

EAF use X11 XReparent, Wayland doesn't support it as of now.

We recommend to use KDE out of all DEs, it's stable enough and supports X11 XReparent. You will get the best support because we ourselves use it.

[EAF] *eaf* aborted (core dumped)

Please check the *eaf* buffer, something is wrong on the Python side. Usually due to Python dependencies are not installed correctly.

"undefined symbol" error

If you got "undefined symbol" error after start EAF, and you use Arch Linux, yes, it's a bug of Arch.

You need use pip install all dependences after you upgrade your Arch system, then undefine symbol error will fix.

sudo pip3 install dbus-python python-xlib pyqt5 pyqtwebengine pymupdf grip qrcode feedparser --force-reinstall

Github Personal Access Tokens?

If you use EAF Markdown Previewer, you need the access to a Personal access token, fill something in "Token description" and click button "Generate token" to get your personal token, then set token:

(setq eaf-grip-token "yourtokencode")

Otherwise, github might popup "times limit" error because there are just so many people using grip. ;)


If you need to use proxy to access internet, you can configure the proxy settings.

(setq eaf-proxy-type "http")
(setq eaf-proxy-host "")
(setq eaf-proxy-port "1080")

If you use Socks5 as local proxy, you can set proxy type with:

(setq eaf-proxy-type "socks5")

EAF in the community

A list of other community packages that use EAF to enhance their graphical experiences!

If we missed your package, please make a PR to add it to the list.

Report bug

For any installation and configuration assistance, please read the Wiki first!

If you have any problem with EAF, please use command "emacs -Q" to start Emacs without any customizations. Then re-test your workflow. If "emacs -Q" works fine, it's must be something wrong with your emacs config file.

If the problem persists, please report bug here.

Join Us

Do you want to make Emacs a real operating system?

Do you want to live in emacs more comfortably?

Want to create unparalleled plugins to extend emacs?

Let's hack together!


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Emacs application framework

License:GNU General Public License v3.0


Language:Python 72.1%Language:Emacs Lisp 23.5%Language:JavaScript 4.1%Language:Dockerfile 0.3%