RT in Emacs

Date: 30 September 2010

There are a number of ways of using RT from within emacs. A quick google search will find them. Here’s what I use.


First, you’ll need to snag a copy of the rt perl script from /opt/rt3/bin/ or from the source package. This can go almost anywhere on your local system but I put it in $HOME/bin/. Make sure you make it executable.

Next, create $HOME/.rtrc. This will contain the information rt needs to access your RT install.

server https://rt.example.com/
user your-user-name
passwd super-secret-password

Test it out by running rt list. You should get a list of all open tickets for your account. If you leave out the passwd line, rt will prompt you for your password.


Now to setup emacs. I use a couple of cool features of emacs: term-mode and emacs server. Term mode will allow you to run the rt shell within emacs. You could run it from emacs' shell mode but it doesn’t work as well. The server allows you to run the command emacsclient and edit a file in whichever emacs instance started the server. I made all of this simple on myself by putting it in a file for emacs to load when needed. I put it in $HOME/.emacs.d/rt

;; rt mode
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("rt\\.form" . text-mode))
(add-hook 'text-mode-hook 'flyspell-mode)

;; start rt
(term "/home/rbsmith/bin/rt")

The first part loads tickets in text-mode and turns on flyspell-mode i.e., spell check on the fly. You can leave out (term-pager-toggle) if you like. It simply paginates the output from rt much like less does.

Now create a little wrapper script for starting emacs and rt. I called it $HOME/bin/rt-client. Make sure you make it executable.


export EDITOR=emacsclient
emacs -l $HOME/.emacs.d/rt

You can use the command help from the rt> prompt to get all sorts of information on how to actually use the RT shell.

Editing Tickets

When you run a command to edit a ticket, the ticket will load up in the emacs window. The message is in RFC 822 format. If you have a field that needs to span multiple lines (like text) every line, including blank lines, needs to start with a space. When you’re done editing a ticket, type C-x C-# to close the editor and submit the changes.