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1.2 Conventions of Use

Most Distel commands need to know which Erlang node to talk to. (Distel doesn't start an Erlang node, you have to do that yourself.) The first command you use will prompt in the minibuffer for the name of the node to use. You can answer with either a name@host node name, or with just the name part as an abbreviation for a node on the local machine.

As a convenience, the node name you enter is cached and then reused in future commands. If you later want to talk to a different node you can use the command erl-choose-nodename (C-c C-d n) to select a new node to talk to. The currently cached node name is always shown in the modeline.

Some commands accept a prefix argument to alter their behaviour in some specific way. You can give a prefix with C-u followed by the command you want to call. For example, C-u M-. tells the M-. command to prompt for the function to lookup, instead choosing one by looking at the source text in the buffer. The effect, if any, of a prefix on a command is included in the command's documentation. In addition, many commands take a node name as a parameter and, by default, the node name is defaulted to the last node name that was selected. However, if the command is called with a prefix, the node name will be prompted for.

The command erl-ping (C-c C-d g) can be used to determine whether distel can communicate with a specific node. As a side effect, erl-ping will also load the distel modules into the node.