The Universe of Discourse

Wed, 10 Nov 2010

This is another article about a trivial tool that is worth more to me than it cost to make. It's my new revert-all-buffers function for Emacs.

Here's the use case: I'm editing 17 files, and I've saved a bunch of changes to them. Then I commit the changes with git, and then I change the working copy of the files out from under Emacs by doing some other git operation—I merge in another branch, or do a rebase, or something like that.

Now when I go back to edit the files, the Emacs buffers are out of date. Emacs notices that, and for each file, it will at some point ask me "Contents of ... have changed on disk; do you really want to edit the buffer?", interrupting my train of thought. I can answer the question by typing r, which will refresh the buffer from the disk version, but having to do that for every buffer is a pain, because I know all those files have changed, and I don't want to be asked each time.

Here's the solution:

        (defun revert-all-buffers ()
          "Refreshes all open buffers from their respective files"
          (let* ((list (buffer-list))
                 (buffer (car list)))
            (while buffer
              (when (and (buffer-file-name buffer) 
                         (not (buffer-modified-p buffer)))
                (set-buffer buffer)
                (revert-buffer t t t))
              (setq list (cdr list))
              (setq buffer (car list))))
          (message "Refreshed open files"))
I have this function bound to some otherwise useless key: it runs through all the buffers, and for each one that has an associated file, and has no unsaved changes, it reverts the contents from the version on the disk.

This occasionally fails, most often because I have removed or renamed a file from the disk that I still have open in Emacs. Usually the response is to close the buffer, or reopen it from the new name. I could probably handle that properly in 99% of cases just by having Emacs close the buffer, but the other cases could be catastrophic, so I'm leaving it the way it is for a while.

I swiped the code, with small changes, from EmacsWiki.

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