# Dancing Code Monkey

A fun learning experience with emacs lisp

A few months ago, I started playing around with Emacs. For roughly six years prior to that, I was a die-hard Vim fan. Vim will always hold a special place in my heart, but I have grown to love Emacs. I’ll undoubtedly cover Emacs in more detail, but I’ll leave that for other posts.

One cannot use Emacs for long without dabbling in Elisp, the language upon which Emacs is built. Having only briefly touched on Lisp languages in college, I figured it was high time to start the learning process.

Recently, a friend of mine stumbled upon this cute little code monkey on someone’s Stackoverflow profile.

          __
w  c(..)o  (
\__(-)   __)
/\  (
/( )__)
m /|
| \
m  m

Quite naturally I thought, “I should make him dance.” As this seemed relatively simple, I decided to tackle this with Elisp.

I first created four slightly altered copies of the little guy, and with the code shown below, had him dancing in no time. You can make him dance interactively a set number of times by issuing the standard prefix arguments prior to invoking the function ( e.g. C-u 100 M-x dance-monkey ) or watch him shake his groove thing on YouTube.

(defun insert-monkey (num)
(interactive "P")
(erase-buffer)
(insert-file-contents
(concat "/home/keelerm/Projects/emacs/code-monkey/" (int-to-string num))))

(defun dance-monkey (repeat)
(interactive "P")
(let ((times 0))
(while (< times repeat)
(insert-monkey (mod times 4))
(setq times (1+ times))
(sit-for 0.2)
)))

As stated above, I know this is extremely simple, but I suppose everyone has to start somewhere. Besides, who doesn’t love a dancing monkey?