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VIM: The Ruby of Text Editing
What Vim is:
- Powerful
- Smart
- Lightweight (< 10mb memory)
- Configurable
- A modal editor
- Universal
- What all the Rails cool kids use now.
- A tool to increase your programming speed.
What Vim isn't:
- Easy to learn
- Good for novices
- Pre-Configured
- "It just works"
- A hot new trend
Differences from Textmate:
- Vim is about commands, Textmate about shortcuts.
- Vim is modal, Textmate is always in insert mode.
- Vim is must be learned, Textmate must be memorized.
- Vim is not preconfigured, Textmate "Just works".
- Vim is available on all OS (including Windows), Textmate is OSX only.
- Vim has 30 years of history behind it and probably 30 more ahead. Textmate has 6 years of history, and has not been updated for the last 4.
- Vim is open source, Textmate is proprietary.
- Vim is not ideal for a novice, Textmate is a great editor for novices.
About GVim, MacVim, Vim, Vi, EX, etc.
- Vi is thirty years old.
- Installed by default on every *nix os.
- Vi and its brood are Screen editors, the only kind of editor we are used to.
- Ex is now part of Vi, was/is a Line editor.
- Understanding Ex gives you insight into Vi/Vim.
- Ex was used before displays, when everything was printed.
- You gave it a line number and an operation and it executed it and printed the result.
- Used for many Vim commands today.
Modal Editing
- There are very few modal editors, with Vim the most popular.
- Based on the idea that most of the time you are editing/changing/refactoring text, not creating it for the first time.
- Vim has 4 primary modes: Insert, Normal, Visual, Command Line.
- Insert
- What most people are used to, any letter you type is added to the document.
- Lots of ways to get into insert mode.
- In GVim when in insert mode your cursor looks like: |
- It all Vi clones when in insert mode you will see -- INSERT -- in the last line of your editor.
- Normal
- The is the mode Vim puts you in by default.
- Can be entered by hitting escape from any mode.
- The more you get used to vim the more time you spend in normal mode.
- Used for moving around the document and manipulating text.
- Visual
- Allows you to select and manipulate blocks of text.
- Has two 'sub modes' line and block.
- Visual is accessed from normal by pressing v.
- Visual line can be accessed by V (shift-v).
- Visual block can be accessed by Ctrl-v
- In Gvim you can make selections with the mouse to enter Visual mode.
- Last line will say -- VISUAL -- or -- VISUAL LINE -- or -- VISUAL BLOCK -- when you are in them.
- Command line
- Can only be entered by typing a colon : when in normal mode.
- Is used for saving, opening and navigating files.
- Also used for search, search/replace, etc.