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VIM for Ruby Developers

by Mike Nicholaides


Vim was written in the 70’s. It runs in a terminal window. It has obtuse key commands for even basic operations. Why would any sane developer use Vim?

Surprisingly, the features of Vim that at first seem like weaknesses are actually its strengths. The abstruse key commands, the rudimentary terminal-based display, and its arcane heritage all contribute to its status as an extremely powerful and ubiquitous text editor.

This talk explores these aspects of Vim, focusing particularly on its powerful verb-noun-modifier language for manipulating text, and Ruby code in particular. If you’ve never “gotten” Vim, this talk is for you.

I have been using Vim since it became popular in the Ruby community a few years ago. After a few failed attempts to switch from TextMate, I finally “got” it and I've been using it productively ever since.

Additional Notes

I gave this as a lightning talk for Philly.rb.

This talk would work as a full-length talk or a lightning talk.

Feedback I've gotten about the talk was that because it requires very little familiarity with Ruby and no familiarity with Vim, it is suitable to a wide range of developers:

  • those new to development in general
  • experienced developers new to Vim
  • experienced Vim users who haven't invested in learning the powerful aspects of Vim
  • experienced Vim users who haven't learned the parts that are great for Ruby development