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Mark Pearl

 

A while back read a book called the “pragmatic programmer”. Great book and I highly recommend – A section in the book was titled “Power Editing” and a suggestion they made was to have one editor. The motivation being that it is better to know one editor very well, and use it for all editing tasks: code, documentations, memos, etc. I buy into this concept – up to this point I work primarily in Visual Studio and do any other text editing in notepad or programmers notepad and while I have been able to get what I need done, I don’t think it is particularly the easiest or quickest way to do things – to put it bluntly I am no expert with programmers notepad and windows notepad it dismal for any power actions. So after thinking about the whole one editor concept I came to the decision that it was time I try something new and pick an editor I would have never thought of in the past.

After much thought I chose Vim, partly because it smells of that Linux world I just never have been able to get in to and partly because I wanted to try a text editor that is available on multiple operating system platforms. One thing about Vim is it is uber controversial – I have never come across someone who is indifferent about it – they either love it or absolutely hate it. So with that in mind I thought the easiest way to learn vim would be to find a windows version of it and see how it goes. A quick search revealed that I was in luck and I downloaded the 64 bit windows version ready to go…

So after installing Vim I found that I had several options, a classic vim editor and a easy vim editor. Anyone who opens vim for the first time in classic mode is presented with the most non-windows based environment possible – basically just a console window with no toolbar or anything… this can be quite daunting and so I decided to opt for the easy vim route – it looked slightly less daunting and at least had a toolbar.

Learning VIM – A windows fanboy’s progression from despair to hope - Windows Liv_2011-11-05_14-07-44 Learning VIM – A windows fanboy’s progression from despair to hope - Windows Liv_2011-11-05_14-07-18

 

First three weeks

My first three weeks were really painful – I don’t think anyone could have developed a more non-windows application. Even copying and pasting was clunky and uncomfortable and several times I began to doubt whether I had made a good decision. To put it this way, it took me almost a week to realize that there was an editor and a command mode and the keys to toggle between the two. To make things worse, all of the online tutorials I had read were targeted towards the classic vim and unless I was missing something the easy vim didn’t seem to work exactly that way…

So, after three weeks I would have canned the whole experiment to return happily to Programmers Notepad – it seemed like I was fast becoming one of those people that swears at vim instead of by it. Then a few days ago I saw a great tutorial that ran me through the basics of vim on the open vim website. For the first time I began to understand the different modes of vim and how to do basic navigation.

So after three weeks of hell I have decided to give vim one more time. This time I am going to can the easy vim option and get straight into normal vim. My motivation for this is that vim is definitely command orientated and if I truly want to understand how it works I need to embrace that fact and get over the fact that there are no shiny buttons for now.

I am going to give vim till the end of 2011, and then review the situation. If I still have not seen the light by then, then I will consider this a failed experiment and revert back to programmers notepad.

If anyone has any suggestions on tutorials that would help beginners or what helped them with vim please let me know.

Posted on Saturday, November 5, 2011 2:18 PM Useful Tools | Back to top


Comments on this post: Learning VIM – A windows fanboy’s progression from despair to hope

# re: Learning VIM – A windows fanboy’s progression from despair to hope
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I wrote a blog post yesterday about my own experiences, on the occasion of 20 years of Vim: http://protoiyer.github.com/blog/2011/11/04/vim-at-20-simply-the-best-text-editor/

May be you have already seen some or all of those articles, but if not, it should help you a lot.

The best resource to start with is what Rob Conery (ex-MS) suggests: https://peepcode.com/products/smash-into-vim-i (link to part 2 is there in that page)

Also, use Google liberally whenever you stumble upon something.

Good luck!
Left by Suresh Iyer on Nov 05, 2011 2:53 PM

# re: Learning VIM – A windows fanboy’s progression from despair to hope
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Thanks Suresh. I havent seen these links but will give them a read.

Google is already my friend!
Left by Mark Pearl on Nov 05, 2011 4:36 PM

# re: Learning VIM – A windows fanboy’s progression from despair to hope
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@Mark: Thanks for the reply. Would be great if you can report back (I too am learning vim and so I am sure I too will learn things by reading about your journey :) on your journey on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. Also, let me know whether you found the links useful (after reading). Thanks.

PS: I read PP way back in 2005, but unlike you, never made the connection of exploring something useful and powerful like Vim. Instead I focused on becoming really good at the editors I was using -- Delphi and VS. So, it was nice to read about that.
Left by Suresh Iyer on Nov 05, 2011 4:44 PM

# re: Learning VIM – A windows fanboy’s progression from despair to hope
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You should try the videos from peepcode.
There are 2 about vim and they got me from hating vim to loving it!!

Keep on

Lorenzo
Left by Lorenzo on Nov 06, 2011 11:06 PM

# re: Learning VIM – A windows fanboy’s progression from despair to hope
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Thanks Lorenzo... I will give the vids a look!
Left by Mark Pearl on Nov 07, 2011 6:45 AM

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