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My understanding is if that I use any of :commands, :bind, :bind*, :bind-keymap, :bind-keymap*, :mode, or :interpreter, then it will create a corresponding autoload and defer loading of the package until that autoload is triggered.

I'm confused about the situations in which the package will load given that I don't use any of the above sections and I set it to :defer t.

I see this in the readme:

Typically, you only need to specify :defer if you know for a fact that some other package will do something to cause your package to load at the appropriate time, and thus you would like to defer loading even though use-package isn't creating any autoloads for you.

If I know for a fact that package X has "built-in" autoloads (i.e. autoloads defined by the package author), then can I simply set :defer t and rely on those to load the package at the appropriate time?

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If I know for a fact that package X has "built-in" autoloads (i.e. autoloads defined by the package author), then can I simply set :defer t and rely on those to load the package at the appropriate time?

Yes, that's exactly what that means. Similarly, you can also use :defer t in place of something like :mode or :interpreter if the package already handles its auto-mode-alist or interpreter-mode-alist assignments correctly.

  • Thank you! Do you know if there's a more convenient and reliable way to see if a package contains autoloads than scouring through the package's directory in my elpa/ dir and looking to see if there are any autoloads defined? I'm confused because I get the impression that this is done automatically if I use package.el and MELPA (which I do), so does that mean that I can safely specify :defer t on all of the packages I install from MELPA? – Jorge Israel Peña Jan 20 '16 at 20:00
  • What I do is use describe-function (C-h f) on whatever command I'd like to use as an entry point. If it's been natively autoloaded (i.e., as part of the package rather than your use-package declaration), the help buffer will describe it as something like "an autoloaded compiled Lisp function" in the first line. And yes, the autoloads should be set up automatically by package.el. – Aaron Harris Jan 20 '16 at 20:40

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