Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Required reading for the predated-by-Vim folks in the audience

For those of us newer than Vim to the business of text editing, it’s important to remember that vi was the editor which got the “most efficient manipulator of text possible” reputation. Vim is, after all, only “Vi IMproved.”

Watching an experienced VI user inspires awe. The cursor seems to follow their eyes. Unfortunately, it takes about two years of daily VI usage to get to that point because the learning curve is so daunting. If you’ve used it every day for 1 year and 364 days, you’ll still struggle.
— Neal Ford, The Productive Programmer

We hear from one such experienced user (Jim Dennis) in what I’d guess is one of the most-voted-for answers on Stack Overflow, in reply to the question “What is your most productive shortcut with Vim?”

The answer’s title, to the extent to which answers can have titles on Stack Overflow, is “Your problem with Vim is that you don't grok vi.” Go read it. It’s all good and there’s no part that particularly calls for quotation other than this at the end:

I've only scratched to surface of vi's power and none of what I've described here is even part of the "improvements" for which vim is named! All of what I've described here should work on any old copy of vi from 20 or 30 years ago.

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