I am looking for a way to display and interact with long running shell scripts in a separate buffer. While using eshell works, I'd like to automate most shell tasks using elisp.

The best way I came up with is (example for git pull):

(let ((new-buffer (get-buffer-create "*script*")))
     (switch-to-buffer-other-window new-buffer)
     (eshell-command "git pull" t)))

While this displays procedural output in a new buffer, emacs locks until the process finishes and I can't interact with git if it prompts for information.

(start-process "script" new-buffer "git" "pull") runs asynchronously, but does not accept interactive input either.

The git pull command is just an example here.


I think I got everything I wanted using make-comint-in-buffer. I got correct ansi-colors and can interact with the process if it reads stdin.

Just the gist:

(let* ((script-proc-buffer 
           (apply 'make-comint-in-buffer "script" new-buffer "git" nil '("pull")))
       (script-proc (get-buffer-process script-proc-buffer)))

    (set-process-sentinel script-proc 'special-mode-sentinel))

Where special-mode-sentinel is a defun that switches to special-mode when the process has finished, allowing me to quit the buffer using q.

It's not pretty, but it works...

  • Did you already take a look at (elisp) Asynchronous Processes? – Drew Feb 7 '18 at 22:31
  • Yes, that's where I found start-process and start-process-shell-command. start-process-shell-command almost does what I want, but I can't figure out how to interact with the process if it prompts for input (e.g. a password). But I'm quite new to elisp, so maybe I am missing something... – mconrads Feb 7 '18 at 22:51
  • The (elisp) Filter Functions part is where you want to look at. PS catching git password prompts requires a pty, so it won't work under Windows. – npostavs Feb 8 '18 at 0:15
  • @npostavs Reading up on the filter functions led me to comint-mode (which may be overkill). Thanks for the link! – mconrads Feb 12 '18 at 22:47

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