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At present I use a screen session in the terminal (outside of emacs), with window 0 devoted to running my web server, window 1 to running tests, and window 2 for general hacking. I like this flow and want to keep something similar. I was wondering a way to emulate this on emacs.

I should always have one frame devoted to exactly one of these three windows (on the bottom) and there should be some way to cycle through them. I don't really want these windows getting mixed up in the rest of my windows. Arguably this is a good use case for another frame, but that sends me back to using screen or something to manage and I was experimenting with getting away from this utility.

The next option is (somehow - still learning) setting up perennial buffers and being able to access them via the buffer list. Still scatters them around; not great.

My other reasonable solution is to run a screen inside a shell and anchor the window. Not crazy, but still have the problem of nested control characters and stuff.

Any good solution here?

In particular this creates a window reserved for basically a full emacs session inside a window, and in fact I could just nest it inside a shell, but obviously the key bindings basically go to oblivion and back.

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    I typically have several shell buffers open in Emacs. I made it a habit to C-u M-x shell so that once I create a new shell buffer Emacs would prompt me for the name for it, and I call them shell-something. So, switching buffers becomes easier (if I just type C-x b shell- the whole list pops up in the completion. – wvxvw Mar 2 '15 at 6:25
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I should always have one frame devoted to exactly one of these three windows (on the bottom) and there should be some way to cycle through them.

I recommend using shell-switcher, which keeps a register of shell buffers and allows you to easily switch between them with C-'.

I use eshell as my primary shell and have it configured to work with shell-switcher:

(require 'eshell)
(require 'shell-switcher)
(setq shell-switcher-mode t)
(add-hook 'eshell-mode-hook 'shell-switcher-manually-register-shell)

I don't really want these windows getting mixed up in the rest of my windows. Arguably this is a good use case for another frame, but that sends me back to using screen or something to manage and I was experimenting with getting away from this utility.

The shell buffers do appear in the list of all buffers, but with shell-switcher you don't have to go through the regular buffer list to switch shells.

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I use 'Workgroups' session manager (I don't like Frames). Its behaviour is very similar to GNUScreen/Tmux and you can save differents sessions.

And with 'Bookmark Plus' you can access quickly to any session.

https://github.com/pashinin/workgroups2

http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/BookmarkPlus

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